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Fears Determine Career Choice for a Quarter of UK Workers


As the New Year approaches, research from CV-Library, the UK’s largest job site, reveals how over a quarter of workers (26.2%) admit to choosing their career paths in order to avoid dealing with their workplace fears.

Conducted amongst over 3,000 UK professionals, the research highlights the top 10 qualms that make workers’ blood run cold in the workplace:

  1. Public speaking – 15.7%
  2. Presenting – 12.2%
  3. Cold calling – 11.5%
  4. Leading a meeting – 7.3%
  5. Missing targets – 6.7%
  6. Speaking on the phone – 6.4%
  7. Attending social events – 6%
  8. Managing budgets – 5.7%
  9. Liaising with senior staff – 4.8%
  10. Being away from home – 3.4%

The survey also sought to uncover how UK professionals react when faced with one of their work-based worries. Despite many workers selecting a career that removes them entirely from the situation, the majority of those who choose to face their fears appear to do so in a positive, proactive way. However, there are professionals who have adopted potentially damaging behaviours to help them deal with their workplace anxieties, which could become a real cause for concern. The top 10 reactions amongst UK workers, include:

  1. Tackle it head on – 26.6%
  2. Use as an opportunity to grow – 15.6%
  3. Ignore it – 12.2%
  4. Avoid the situation for as long as possible – 9%
  5. Keep a low profile – 7.6%
  6. Panic – 4%
  7. Call in sick – 2%
  8. Make up an excuse to get out of it – 2.2%
  9. Take annual leave – 1%
  10. Become aggressive – 1%

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library, comments on the findings

“While it’s discouraging to see that so many workers are closing themselves off to career opportunities as a result of their fears, it is positive to see that many are choosing to face their worries confidently. With the New Year approaching, January is the perfect time for the nation’s professionals to overcome their anxieties. We urge workers to face their career fears and open themselves up to a host of new career possibilities in 2016.”

Interestingly, when asked to identify the best ways to address workplace fears, over half of workers (51.7%) felt ‘training opportunities and managerial support’ would be the most helpful.

Biggins concludes: “Many workers would massively benefit from extra support from their employer. Businesses can help their staff address and overcome their anxieties by providing additional training and mentoring programmes.”

Learn more about CV-Library at


CV-Library is one of the UK’s largest online job sites, with the UK’s biggest database of over 12m CVs. The company was founded in 2000 as a response to Lee’s identification of a market niche. As a young carpet fitter at the time struggling to find work, Lee saw a need for an easy-to-use job board benefiting both job hunters and recruiters. With a £9k loan and help from a web developer, the CV-Library website was built. Lee’s raw passion and hands-on marketing strategies lifted the business off the ground and it is this that continues to push his company to new heights.

The business is now one of the fastest growing websites in the country. The team is expanding rapidly, now employing over 200 staff. It has also launched sister website, Resume Library, in the US, where the company is set to expand and take the brand global over the coming years. Lee puts the reason for his success down to working incredibly hard, loving what he does and a strong desire to make the business the best it can be.

Lee has received over 50 awards and accolades to date and was last year recognised as Entrepreneur of the Year. In April 2015 CV-Library was also ranked as number 49 in the Sunday Times Profit Track 100.


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