One in five people are in the wrong job

One in five people are in the wrong job, Right Management finds

Their low engagement costs ASX100 $6 billion in annual revenue


Australia – 4 September 2015: New Australian research from global career experts, Right Management, has found that one in five people are in the wrong job and their low engagement levels are impacting the business bottom line. 

In a new research paper titled ‘One in five are in the wrong job,’ a total of 857 outplacement (redundancy) candidates that had completed Right Management’s Career Management program in the last five years were surveyed, comparing their engagement levels from their pre-transition job to their current job.


Key findings:

An individual’s engagement level increased an average of 15.4 per cent from their pre-transition role to their current role. This shows that career transition gives people the opportunity to take stock, re-assess and progress their career in a direction they desire.


One in five people surveyed changed job function or industry out of a personal desire, rather than necessity. On average, these people had approximately a 20 unit increase above the baseline 15 per cent increase in their engagement levels. 

Ian Till, Principal Consultant at Right Management says that this research demonstrates that given the right opportunity and market conditions, at least one in five people would choose to change either industry or job function. “Career transition provides the opportunity for individuals to analyse their current professional position and re-evaluate their goals and aspirations. The implication of this research is that approximately one in five people are in the wrong job which can have a significant impact on their engagement with their role, their peers and their organisation,” said Mr Till.


Financial implications: $6 billion could be added to ASX100 

Based on this research the financial impact of intrinsically motivated and engaged individuals can equate to a 9.3 per cent increase in customer satisfaction and a 3.6 per cent increase in annual revenue growth[1]. Right Management’s research found that by moving the 20 per cent of employees currently in a wrong role to a position they want to be in, organisations can increase annual revenue by 0.7 per cent[2]. This would equate to an additional $6 billion in revenue annually across the ASX100.  

“The cost of low employee engagement levels is significant, resulting in lower customer satisfaction and lost revenue to the business. It’s also important to acknowledge that these calculations only consider direct costs and don’t take into account the indirect impact these individuals would have on their peers within the organisation,” Till said.


How can business leaders address this? 

Organisations must focus on refining their career development practices to ensure they have the right talent in place to help them remain agile and responsive to change. Further, recruiters must look more closely at motivational factors, in addition to technical expertise when shortlisting candidates for job roles. 

“The unfortunate reality for many organisations and individuals is that many people are socialised into functional silos or job roles for the wrong reasons,” said Till. 

“Therefore it’s crucial that organisations conduct robust and structured career discussions with employees to improve their self-awareness around their interests and capabilities, empower them to move into roles more aligned to their interests and capabilities, and thereby improve their level of engagement overall. 

“While recruiters generally give preference to candidates that have prior technical or industry experience for a new role – especially in the current economic climate - it’s crucial they also consider underlying motivational fit. Hiring the person who ‘can’ do the job, but doesn’t really want to, is worse than hiring the person who may not ‘tick all the boxes’ but has the passion and willingness to learn,” Till said.                                                                                                                             

A copy of the Right Management research report can be downloaded here


About Right Management

Right Management is the global career and talent development expert within ManpowerGroup (NYSE: MAN).  We help organizations become more agile, attractive and innovative by creating a culture of career management and learning that nurtures future talent, motivates and engages people, and provides individuals with opportunities to increase their value throughout their careers.  We improve time to value through our expertise in organizational effectiveness, career management and individual development.  Our approach is centered on the fact that organizations thrive when individuals are successful in their careers.  We’ve spent the last 35 years identifying workforce challenges and developing innovative solutions, enabling our globally informed methods to be time-tested across more than 50 countries.  Visit to learn more about our capabilities and solutions.


Media contact

Lauren Knight
Buchan Consulting
[email protected]
03 9866 4722


[1] The seminal Employee Customer Profit Chain research was published in the Harvard Business Review by Ruci, Kern & Quinn in 1998. The impact of increasing engagement scores by five units has been shown to lead to a 1.3% increase in customer satisfaction and a 0.5% increase in revenue growth.

[2] 3.6% increase in annual organisational revenue divided by 5 = 0.7%