Page last updated at 23:03 GMT, Monday, 31 March 2008 00:03 UK

Millions in 'wrong job' says poll

Job seekers
Most people thought good careers advice could improve their lives

Millions of working years are being wasted because so many people are in the wrong job, a survey suggests.

An online poll of 2,087 adults suggests people spend an average of four years and 10 months in jobs that do not make the best use of their skills.

One in five is currently in such a job, and 41% have been, the poll suggests.

The Skills Commission, which ordered the research, said this would add up to some 132 million working years having been spent by people in the wrong job.


The commission, which has spent the past six months looking into information, advice and guidance services, is due to release a report later on the issue.

It is likely to call on the government to make good quality careers advice a priority.

Andy Powell, a member of the commission and chief executive of Edge - an organisation campaigning for vocational education - said: "We are shocked at the sheer depth of dissatisfaction Britons seem to feel for their work and how their skills are underutilised on a massive scale.

"We urge the government to listen very carefully to the recommendations of the Skills Commission.

"Information, advice and guidance for all adults and young people must be given the appropriate funding and political support it deserves."

Some 59% of those in an unsatisfactory job told the poll they thought good quality advice could improve their lives.

Almost half (47%) of working age population said they feel good advice could help their career prospects now.

Both the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills are in the process of reforming the free careers advice on offer.

A Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills spokesman said careers advice was just one of many reasons why a person might believe a job does not make use of all of their skills.

"Improving the skills of our workforce is key in helping people realise their aspirations, widening opportunity as well as boosting the economy. "That is why we want to make access easier to careers advice so that people can improve their skills and get on at work and have announced a new, universal adult advancement and careers service which will be available nationwide by 2001/11," he added.

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