Quarter of Americans Express Doubts About Job Qualifications, Poll Shows

“Feeling underqualified? You're not alone,” says a new study that found that one in four Americans feel unprepared for their job. According to a new survey commissioned by Adecco Group and conducted by OnePoll, one in four Americans feels “underqualified” for their job today.

The poll of 2,000 Americans actively job-seeking found that 39% fear potential employers would also deem them underqualified for roles they’re applying for. Meanwhile, 18% fear the opposite — that they’ll be seen as too overqualified.

Optimism and Employee Education

Despite these concerns, 39% still feel optimistic about their job prospects in the next year. And 56% believe prioritizing employee education might be the answer to their troubles. Three-quarters of respondents currently employed would feel more satisfied with their current jobs if they had the opportunity to learn new skills applicable to their jobs while continuing to work.

Learning New Skills

77% said they would feel better qualified for specific jobs if they learned new skills. Sixty-seven percent said potential employers would be more appealing to them if they offered strong job-related education options as part of their employment. Two-thirds (67%) also stated they would feel more job satisfaction if they were able to learn more about the company beyond the basic requirements of their role.

Confidence and Challenges

Sixty-nine percent feel confident their current job skill set can be used in future jobs. Additionally, 58% also feel confident they could apply their skill set in a different career path than what they’re accustomed to. However, for 47%, having the right job skills in the first place is challenging. They admitted they aren’t working on expanding their skills via additional education or training, whether they want to or not.

Barriers To Job-related Education

Over half of those surveyed (52%) said they’ve been turned down for a job because they didn’t meet the skill requirements. Even more (59%) were discouraged from applying to jobs in the first place due to feeling inadequate or underqualified based on its description. There are also several barriers people face when trying to continue their job-related education, including financial strain (45%), time constraints (31%), transportation (31%), and a lack of equipment (23%).

Responsibility for Job Training

Nearly two-thirds (63%) felt their employers were the most responsible for providing proper job training for them. However, many also said proper job training is the responsibility of themselves as job seekers (46%), educational institutions (26%), and the federal government (15%).

Job Perks and Lifelong Learning

A majority of respondents (68%) said they’d be more willing to work for companies that offer dedicated time for job-related education while on the clock as a job perk. Other enticing perks should include skills development (63%), professional certification (43%), and education credit (34%). According to Molly Conway, Head of Public Affairs at Adecco Group, North America, “Job seekers who adapt a mindset of lifelong learning set themselves up better for jobs of the future.” She continued, “At the same time, employers play a crucial part in ensuring workers’ long-term employability. By creating pathways for learning to happen on-the-job, such as through apprenticeship programs, organizations can help fill the gap, while also future-proofing their workforce.”


  1. Dedicated time for learning new skills – 56%
  2. Education related to your specific role – 50%
  3. National certification in your field – 33%
  4. Mentorship – 32%

Survey Methodology

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 American job seekers, with 1,000 unemployed and 1,000 employed, was commissioned by Adecco Group between October 4 and October 10, 2022. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

This post originally appeared on Talker News and was syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

Michael launched Wealth of Geeks to make personal finance fun. He has worked in personal finance for over 20 years, helping families reduce taxes, increase their income, and save for retirement. Michael is passionate about personal finance, side hustles, and all things geeky.