Poor job descriptions ‘waste time and money’

File Folder Labeled as Job Descriptions.


Poor job description is a significant contributor to staff turnover in organisations of all sizes across the UK, according to new research.

The research from  global management consultancy Hay Group shows that 51% of HR managers believe poor job descriptions can mislead employee expectations, resulting in them being a poor fit and ultimately driving them to leave. Moreover, 68% say poor job descriptions contribute to weak candidate pools and 59% believe they result in wasted time with irrelevant candidates who have the wrong skills.

Adam Burden, consultant, Hay Group, says: “The lack of clarity is demotivating for individuals, and affects engagement and loyalty to the organisation. This has a knock-on effect for teams, which are much more likely to perform when each member has an accurate picture of their role.”

The Hay Group says that, on average, one third of UK organisations experience staff turnover rates above 21% each year and that staff turnover is costing companies with 100-249 employees over £138,000 per year.

HR managers in the retail, engineering and legal sectors, in particular, identified a strong relationship between poor job descriptions and greater staff turnover, the research found. In the retail sector, 67% of respondents said a poor job description leads to mismatched job expectations, causing employees to become unhappy and leave. 60% of HR managers in the engineering sector believed badly written job descriptions result in poor consistency and quality across the business. Meanwhile, 83% of HR managers in the legal sector said poor job descriptions affected existing employees as the wrong talent is brought into the organisation.

Burden added: “Get job descriptions wrong and there’s a risk you’ll recruit the wrong people. Get them right, however, and you can attract the best candidates, who know what to expect from the role and how to make an impact.”

86% of UK HR managers surveyed said good job descriptions lead to better quality candidates. However, 42% believe that the quality of job descriptions drafted in their organisations are poor and over three quarters agreed that getting good job descriptions from managers is time-consuming.

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