Qualifications Matter Most to Employers As UK Urged To Work Smarter Not Harder

employer stats
A new survey has found that eight in 10 Britons are overworked, with almost a third close to “burnt out” or “very overworked” in an attempt to get recognition from their employers.

The poll, conducted by The Open University, the UK’s largest academic institution, has revealed a huge gap between what employees think will earn them a pay rise and promotion, and what employers actually look for.

Employees believe that working longer hours is one of the best ways to earn a promotion or pay rise, despite being considered important by just one in ten employers. The figures show that nearly two-thirds of us regularly work overtime, with nearly 10% working at least an extra 40 hours per month; a full working week.

Whilst a quarter of employers said they merited staff who met deadlines and targets, the good news is that a greater number (46%) cited gaining qualifications, through additional education or work based training – in order to become better at your job – as a reason to offer a pay rise or promotion. Despite further qualifications and training being so highly valued by employers, just 11% of workers recognise the value of doing so.

“What was interesting about the findings of our survey is that employers were much more likely to cite additional education when it comes to offering pay rises and promotions,” said Keith Zimmerman, Director of Students at The Open University. “Perhaps surprisingly, being first in the door and last to leave is not the way to go. It all comes down to working smarter – without necessarily working harder – and many people don’t realise that earning a part-time qualification can have an almost instant impact on their career prospects. This is because the skills and knowledge you acquire can help you work more efficiently, while the dedication needed to study part-time is something employers are likely to notice and be impressed by.”

In 2015, the range of options available means that part-time study has never been more flexible and accessible. With just 15% entirely happy with their career, The Open University is urging Britons to make 2015 the year of their career by exploring more effective methods of career progression.

A Guide to Fast-Tracking Your Career has been released and contains expert advice from The Open University’s Careers Advisory Service. It features dedicated sections on avoiding career planning pitfalls, making the most of performance and salary reviews, and guidance on gaining and applying career boosting qualifications. The guide is an invaluable resource for those who want to take their career to the next level.

“There are of course other steps you can take to further your career,” adds Zimmerman. “These can be as simple as recognising and being able to articulate your strengths, building the right kind of social media presence, or spending time building up your network – something that everyone, no matter their position or background, can do.”

Top ten things employers really look for when offering pay rises or promotions

  1. Gaining qualifications, through additional education, that help them become better at their job (46%)
  2. Going on work-related training courses (33%)
  3. Gaining work-related knowledge through free online courses or by reading relevant books and/or articles (26%)
  4. Meeting deadlines (25%)
  5. Meeting targets (23%)
  6. Being eager to gain new job skills (22%)
  7. Working more efficiently (19%)
  8. Being a team player (19%)
  9. Winning new business (18%)
  10. Working as hard as possible to make things easy for a supervisor/manager (15%)

Top ten qualities employers look for in their staff

  1. Honesty (38%)
  2. Self-motivation (38%)
  3. The right experience (37%)
  4. Keen to expand their skill set (35%)
  5. Has the right qualifications (34%)
  6. A positive attitude (30%)
  7. Hardworking (27%)
  8. Takes the initiative (26%)
  9. Dependable (25%)
  10. Intelligent (24%)

To download the free Guide to Fast-tracking Your Career, visit www.openuniversity.co.uk/guide or for more information on how an Open University qualification could give your career the kick-start it needs call 0300 303 0068.

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