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UK employees crisis of confidence

British employees are suffering from a wide range of confidence issues in the workplace, according to new research by Feel Good Contact Lenses.

Unsurprisingly, presenting to large groups of people in the office (52 percent) or public speaking (46 percent) are their biggest fears. The most startling statistics uncovered in the research relates to employees’ poor relationships with their bosses and their ability to ask for holiday time and a bigger salary. More than a third (35 percent) of respondents said they lack the confidence to ask for a pay rise, and a quarter (25 percent) fear asking their line manager for time off in lieu.

Other confidence related issues in connection to their jobs include ‘afraid of putting own ideas forward’ (32 percent), while client meetings create the fear factor for 29 percent.A further 27 percent worry about working closely with their superior on a daily basis and 19 percent worry about working as part of a team. One in five (21 percent) believe that they are seen as ‘a push-over’ and a further one in 10 (11 percent) feel they have had extra work dumped upon them by their line manager. The results not only reveal a range of job-related fears that impact their levels of confidence as concerns in connection to their jobs also threaten to hold them back in their careers. 

One in five (20 percent) have failed to secure a new job because of their lack of their self belief. A further one in 10 (14 percent) of those questioned felt they had missed out on a promotion due to a lack of faith in their own ability. The sample considers a wide range of confidence boosting tactics when communicating with others and getting ahead in the workplace. Appearance matters and first impressions count given that 30 percent said ‘power-dressing’ often helps. Walking tall and keeping your head-held-high (21 percent), improving posture (19 percent), wearing make-up (21 percent) or swapping glasses for contact lenses (11 percent) were also common tactics cited by respondents that helped them boost confidence when communicating at work.

Respondents were asked the same question in relation to a pay rise and time off with 33 percent saying that smiling often resulted in them getting ahead in the workplace. More than a quarter (27 percent) said dressing smarter was the key to confidently persuading their boss, while one in five (20 percent) will visualise success to pluck up the courage to appear more confident before approaching their line manager for a pay rise or time off. Reaching work-related goals is seen as another way professionals improve their confidence while demonstrating success to a superior. A fifth (20 percent) of respondents said they think about completing projects and to-do lists once a day for this reason, while one in ten (10 percent) focus on their immediate targets five times a day.

With more than a quarter (26 percent) of respondents believing that confident people tend to be better performers at work, positivity and optimism is clearly important. This means that by trying out some of the tactics identified in the research, workers could potentially further their careers. A spokesperson for Feel Good Lenses, commented: “It’s evident that British workers are struggling with confidence issues and this could be indicative of the pressure people feel they are under at work, or to look and act a certain way. “A crisis of confidence in the workplace can be disheartening, but our research shows that making small changes can make all the difference. Tactics such as power dressing, swapping glasses for contact lenses and keeping your head high go a long way and are enough to make us feel more positive in relationships with others at work and in our jobs in general.” Employers say they want to help build a fairer society yet few are taking the action needed on recruitment. Three quarters of employers say they would consider taking on people who have been long-term unemployed – but less than a quarter do. Over 80 per cent of bosses think care leavers would be reliable employees, yet just 13 percent actually employ any. Employment Minister: Business should “see potential, not problems” in job applicants from disadvantaged groups and harness their skills.

Better recruitment policies which harness the skills of people from disadvantaged groups hold the key to a more secure future for British business, Employment Minister Priti Patel said, The minister has called upon business leaders to match their warm words with positive action, after a poll found that the vast majority said they were ready and willing to take on staff from disadvantaged groups. Six out of ten companies say they would be happy to employ a homeless person and nearly seven out of ten say they would trust an ex-offender’s work skills and capability, according to the findings of a YouGov survey. Yet the reality on the ground seems very different, with talents and skills available amongst these groups – as well as the long-term unemployed, people recovering from drug or alcohol dependencies, and care leavers – all too often overlooked.

Employment Minister, Priti Patel, said: “As our economy continues to recover and grow, so will demand for skills and labour – yet our ageing society will present increasing demographic challenges. To thrive in the long term, businesses need to identify talent and potential wherever it exists. Of course I understand the pressures businesses are under, but I want our bosses to start seeing potential instead of problems. This is about securing a better future for British business, just as much as it is about giving people a second chance.” The financial benefits to employers of casting the net as far wide as possible in the search for new talent are supported by further research. Almost half of companies surveyed recently by Business in the Community said that they had seen a direct positive financial impact by supporting people from disadvantaged backgrounds back into work. The call by the Employment Minister is intended to promote debate about how businesses can do more to boost their profits, while spreading hope and opportunity to people in difficult circumstances.

Ms Patel added: “If we want to become a higher wage, lower tax, lower welfare country, as the Chancellor set out in his Budget, then we need to make sure everyone is benefitting from our jobs growth. And businesses have a major role to play in this. “As a key part of our long term economic plan, the Work Programme has helped more than 400,000 people into lasting jobs, pushing long-term unemployment to its lowest level in more than five years. The number of people claiming unemployment benefits is at its lowest since 1975. The onus is now on businesses to be open minded and work to access the hidden talent across society.”

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