Is the Grass Always Greener?

We've all heard the phrase - 'the grass is greener' - but is this really the case - and who is to blame when it's not? 

Evidence from job-switchers in the UK at least suggests too many are finding out the grass isn't quite as lush as they thought it would be.

According to a new report by a leading recruitment firm, 50% of people questioned said they'd changed jobs in the previous year, but of these, only 45% of them said they were 'happy' in their new role.

Apparently, once they'd left the comfort of their old job, new employees found that their new career was far less challenging than they thought it was going to be, suggesting that the new job they took was either mis-sold to them, or at the very least over-zealously written, to appear more enticing that it really was.

This is surely a problem. The end result, says the poll, is that some 69% of these disastisfied new staff admitted they'd most likely be looking for another new job within the next year. See where we're going?

It means these same people are at risk of starting a whole new round of disappointment all over again, creating a viscious circle of ever-ongoing job moving and disatisfaction.

While the easiest option is to stay-put (you like your current job really, don't you?), we know this is unlikely. After all, the fact people are looking for new work in the first place must be symtomatic of something wrong at their current employer.

It means the only real soution is to really be sure that the job-ad you're responding to is speaking the truth. But this, it seems, is the rub...the truth! How do you find this out?

Even the biggest advertisers can make mistakes. Earlier this year an advert that was part of the 'Perfect Climate for Business' campaign - which aims to promote Florida as the perfect place for businesspeople, not just holidaymakers (see: - was found to mistakingly say that Florida had 5 million multi-lingual workers. In fact, according to Census figures, only 2 million of its workers are multi-lingual.

There's no suggestion this was done to mislead, but spare a thought for employers. They are in a tricky position. They need to sell a job (and their company), without over-selling it. After all, no-firm wants 20-40% attrition each year just to stay still.

However, that's not to say employers can't do more, and that job seekers shouldn't also be pressing for more information from their prospective new bosses.

A study of 500,000 job ads by search engine in August this year found half of employers  didn't even divulge what they'll pay for an advertised role. Energy firms were the least likely to show salaries. It revealed Aberdeen, Glasgow and Belfast to be the most 'secretive' cities, while Southend-on-Sea and Crawley were named the most 'transparent'.

It seems that as the global economy slowly recovers, and as more people want 'out' of the jobs they've stayed in for too long - they must also be prepared for the fact that the job they think will solve their problems may not.

And surely, that means taking responsibility for asking employers themselves to be more open about their companies and employment prospects. There's another catchphrase out there too you know - forearmed is forewarned. 


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