National Sickie Day or National ‘Interview for a New Job’ Day?

Employment & Skills | Surveys

Today, 4th February and the first Monday in February, is traditionally the day of the year when British workers are most likely to call in sick.  But despite some of the excuses usually cited ranging from the obvious (sick or migraine 30%, illness 12%) to the most far-fetched (being over the limit after a weekend of excess, a non-existent bereavement, weather too bad to cycle into work), could there be another reason for today’s absenteeism?

Research, commissioned by Arden University, revealed that January had left almost half (46%) of UK workers at a career crossroads. Unable to face another 11 months in their existing role, today very well may be the day when those British workers are putting their exit plans into action by attending their first job interview of the year.

According to Arden, a modern university offering flexible learning designed to equip graduates with workplace-ready skills, some of the reasons why half of the UK’s workforce is at a career crossroads include feelings of boredom (21%), salaries being too low (34%) and too much stress (30%), leaving many considering their futures.

Just under a third (27%) reported feeling unsupported by the current employer, one in five (22%) felt that a lack of flexible working opportunities is making them unhappy at work and alarmingly, just over one in ten of workers (12%) said that they have been bullied out of a job.

The average British adult spends 42 hours at work each week, so changing role completely is an important decision and not one to be taken lightly.

Over a third of those questioned (39%) admitted that a previous job change had not improved their situation which could explain why for those who find themselves unable to progress in their current role, upskilling not quitting was an alternative option for a quarter (25%) of those questioned.

The problem is that improving, instead of moving, through upskilling and re-education is being hampered by money (49%), time (35%), family pressures (20%) and a fear of failing (17%) which explains why the most popular option is to move to improve.

Victoria Stakelum, Deputy CEO of Arden University, said: “Looking at the reasons that our survey respondents gave, at the beginning of the year, for wanting to ditch the day job it’s very likely that, for some people, today is the day when they’ll be putting exit plans into place.  Feelings of stress, unhappiness, even bullying, are understandable reasons for wanting to exit a job and can certainly cause someone to become genuinely ill.

“Yet, as more than a third of our survey respondents confirmed, acting in haste doesn’t always end up improving the situation.  Changing jobs may not be the whole solution or certainly not without further research and upskilling first.  If you’re thinking about leaving, I would say the key to a successful move would be to first assess where the skill gap, between you and your next job, lies and then working on improving your skillset before moving; otherwise, you could end up swapping one poor job situation for another.

“At Arden we can help workers upskill.  We offer accredited, career-focused qualifications, designed in partnership with employers and specifically tailored to promote the development of skills that employers commonly say graduates lack.  This means our students graduate not only with up-to-date and relevant workplace knowledge and skills but also, often, having secured a promotion at work too.

“For those taking a duvet day to escape an unhappy workplace, I would advise using the time wisely to form an exit strategy that will lead them to a job where pulling a sickie is a thing of the past.”

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