Half of UK workers ‘frustrated that their full potential is being wasted’

Half of workers are frustrated that they have nowhere to go in their current job because there are so few opportunities for advancement, a survey suggests.

And a fifth (19%) say their job offers zero training that would help them get out of the role they’re in.

As a result, workers are pushing their bosses for more training and taking evening courses on their own, the survey of 2,000 employed adults found.

Nearly a third of respondents said they actively retained “secret skills” that were part of the job description of their current role.

More than half – 53% – are looking for new roles that best fit their skills, following the massive return to the office following lockdown.

Professor Adam Boddison, chief executive of the Association for Project Management, who conducted the survey, said: “This survey has given us a lot of information about the constraints workers feel in their jobs.

“However, it’s great to see that many felt an urge to look further afield in an attempt to better utilize their skills in other roles.

“Many people clearly feel that they are not being used to their full potential and would like to take the opportunity to maximize their communication, organization, planning and project management skills.”

The survey also found that 67% of men raised questions with management about their current role, and seven in 10 got a promotion by asking for one.

In comparison, only 50% of women were promoted after taking it upon themselves to ask management.

Of all adults surveyed, 21% felt uncomfortable asking for a promotion or pay raise, and 11% believed their bosses were unreachable in the matter.

But one in 10 who had taken evening courses on their own already felt very confident about leaving their current position and applying for a different role with a better salary.

Up to four in 10 believed they had leadership skills hidden below the surface of what they displayed in the workplace. Two-fifths, or 38 percent, believed they were skilled in project management and time management – ​​which they were holding back in their current role.

It also emerged that 46% felt less confident asking for training to expand their skill sets if it was not offered to them by superiors.

But that feeling diminished with age, as 22% of people aged 24-34 felt strongly that way, compared to just 10% of people aged 55-64.

More workers, surveyed via OnePoll, also said they would prefer to stay at their current company and progress rather than change careers entirely (38% compared to 22%).

Professor Boddison added: “It might be easier to try to stay in your own company and go up, if that network is available. But our research found that for many, they encountered a roadblock in how far their current company can take them.

“There is a risk that people will end up becoming indispensable to their department, so management is reluctant to let them go ahead and spread their wings. Managers who understand that what’s best for the employee in general is best for the company are what you expect to find in the workplace.”

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