New CIPD research highlights the need to improve people management and development opportunities to boost engagement and productivity
Almost half (49%) of UK workers are in jobs they are either under- or over-skilled for, according to new research from the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development.
The CIPD’s report ‘Over-skilled and underused: Investigating the untapped potential of UK skills’ surveyed 3,700 UK employees. It found that more than a third (37%) of workers have the skills to cope with more demanding duties than they currently have. At the opposite end of the scale, one in ten (12%) employees said they lacked all the skills needed to carry out their job effectively. This means that as many as half (49%) of UK workers could be in the wrong job, based on their skill level.
The UK has one of most skilled workforces in the world, with 42% of workers qualified to degree level, yet it also has the highest proportion of jobs within the OECD which require no qualifications at all. The CIPD’s survey reveals that many graduates are in jobs which do not require degree level qualifications. Almost a third (30%) of respondents said that while a higher level degree would be required in order to get their job, lower qualifications are actually needed to do their job effectively. This suggests that many employers are still using degrees as a way of filtering applications.
However, the report also shows that having a university degree is no guarantee of being prepared for the workplace. More employees with a university degree said they were under-skilled for their role (14%) compared to those without one (10%). This highlights the importance of ongoing training and development in the workplace. Despite this, a quarter (24%) of respondents said they had not received training in the last year, with older employees, low wage workers, those on part-time contracts and the self-employed most likely to say this.
The CIPD’s survey also found that being over-skilled can have a number of negative consequences on employees. Just 53% of over-skilled workers said they are satisfied with their jobs compared to 74% of people whose skills are well-suited to their role. Furthermore, in the long run, being over-skilled can hurt people’s chances of climbing up the career ladder. Just 22% of workers who say they are over-skilled have been promoted to a higher position in their current organisation compared with almost a third (31%) of workers in well-matched roles. Furthermore, more than a quarter of over-skilled workers earn less than £20,000 a year compared with just 15% of those whose say their skills are well matched to their jobs.
In response to these challenges, the CIPD is calling for organisations to improve how they manage and develop their people and for Government to work in partnership with employers, unions, and local areas to provide bespoke, practical support to enable smaller firms in particular to improve their people management practices.
Lizzie Crowley, Skills Adviser at the CIPD, comments:
To address the skills mismatch, recommendations from the CIPD’s report include:
• The Chancellor should use the Budget later this month to boost investment in skills development through the National Productivity Investment Fund (NIPF)
• High quality careers advice and guidance should be offered in schools, and more high quality vocational routes into work should be created
• Employers should invest in formal training for all line managers to ensure that they have the skills they need to support employee development
• Government must work in partnership with employers, unions, sector bodies, Local Enterprise Partnerships and local authorities at a national, sector and local level to provide practical support that encourages small employers in particular to improve their people management practices
To support better learning and development at work, and to ensure that skills are being used effectively in the workforce, the CIPD had created an employer guide ‘Countering skills mismatches through people management practice’
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