A woman with her head resting on her arms beside a laptop and several coffee cups. She is clearly unhappy at work.
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Are you unhappy at work? LinkedIn research shows you’re not alone

15 Jan 2019

Almost a quarter of people are currently stuck in a role they’re unhappy in, according to a new LinkedIn study.

As we well and truly settle into the new year, new research from LinkedIn shows that more than half of Irish workers don’t have the confidence to apply for a new job, with almost three-quarters admitting that having the comfort of a permanent job makes them less likely to apply for a new role.

The nationally representative survey was conducted by Core Research and it asked questions of 1,000 people who are in full or part-time employment.

Almost a quarter (24pc) of the research participants said they are currently in a role that they are unhappy with or uninspired by, and this isn’t the only study to show a lack of motivation. According to Deloitte’s first Voice of the Workforce in Europe report, 27pc of UK workers say they are not performing their best work – this is higher than the European average.

Deloitte’s findings highlight that many lack enthusiasm for their roles, with less than a third of UK workers admitting they are not stimulated by what they do and 36pc saying what they do is not meaningful.

However, while being unhappy at work normally causes a high staff turnover, LinkedIn’s research also showed workers faced a number of barriers when it comes to applying for a new job. More than 70pc of participants stated that the comfort of having the security of a job made them less likely to apply for a new role. Additionally, 45pc of workers said they have stayed in a job because they liked their colleagues, despite not enjoying their role. More than half of professionals also agreed that they find it hard to motivate themselves to look for a new role after being at work all day.

Self-doubt a growing cause for concern

While we can all be guilty of getting too comfortable in a role or lacking in motivation to look for a new job, one startling result from the LinkedIn study found that self-doubt was one of the main factors holding people back from applying for new jobs. Of those who considered self-doubt to be a barrier to searching for a new job, 42pc of professionals felt they didn’t have strong enough experience while 40pc assumed there were better candidates for the role. Another 40pc were anxious about leaving their comfort zone.

Self-doubt and imposter syndrome affect a huge amount of people. In fact, some estimates say that 70pc of the population experience imposter syndrome at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, self-doubt in applying for new jobs combined with feeling unhappy at work can have detrimental effects on your confidence as a whole.

LinkedIn’s research showed that almost one in five workers were scared of rejection or failure when applying for jobs, and 30pc are worried about whether or not their hypothetical new job would be worse than their current position.

Head of LinkedIn Ireland, Sharon McCooey, said the research shows that workers can be their own worst enemy when it comes to changing jobs. “While some people are happy and fulfilled in work, those who are not are letting a variety of small factors get in the way of their happiness,” she said.

“There is no ‘one size fits all’ career, and people should take the time to talk to their friends and peers to get the inspiration they need to pursue a new job.”

Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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