UK workers put off from applying to jobs due to jargon used in advertisement

Half of UK workers have been put off from applying for a role due to the jargon used in the job description when advertised.

This survey was conducted by Milkround, a graduate job specialist. It found that 50 per cent of job seekers are put off from sending a CV to such advertisements.

The most hated jargon in ads were ‘blue-sky thinking’, ‘open the kimono’ and ‘ thought shower’ with the UK public also being put off by the job titles advertised such as ‘New Media Czar’, ‘Coordinator of Interpretive Teaching’ and ‘Conversation Architect’.

Just under half (48 per cent) of graduates admitted to turning up to an interview still unsure what the role even entails.  The research also found that 75 per cent of grads want adverts to be written in plain English as well as 55 per cent feeling stressed by the job application process.

A majority (64 per cent) of grads believe they should not apply for a role if they cannot understand it.

Nearly three quarters (71 per cent) of graduates think that business acronyms in ads like SLA – service level agreement, DOE – depending on experience, POC – proof of concept and B2B – business to business leave them feeling unqualified.

More experienced adults (68 per cent) agreed with grads and said they would prefer it if job ads were easier to follow. With some of the most off-putting candidate descriptions being: ninjas, laser-focused, self-starter and action-orientated.

There also seems to be a difference between men and women when it comes to graduate job searches. Men are slightly more comfortable with acronyms, however, 61 per cent of them do not understand these terms. This is compared to 74 per cent of women who do not understand them.

Steven Poole, language expert, who conducted the research said:

Research has long shown that business jargon makes people feel oppressed in the workplace, but the news from increasingly jargon-infested recruitment advertising is even worse: this new data shows that companies using jargon in their job ads are actually preventing candidates from even going for a role — and so pushing talent away. For the sake of both employees and employers, it’s time to cancel the buzz words and try saying what we really mean.

The industries most guilty of filling their adverts with jargon are:

  • PR
  • IT
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Engineering
  • Legal
  • Property
  • Administration
  • Insurance
  • Banking


In response to these findings, Milkround has launched the Job Jargon Decoder, a tool which can be used to help explain job ads tom applicants.

Georgina Brazier, marketing manager at Milkround said:

Our research shows the need for businesses to offer concise information and clarity so top talent isn’t put off by jargon, abbreviations and buzz-phrases. Gone are the days of limited characters within a newspaper job ad. Employers have the scope to include clear outlines and expectations, offering budding candidates full details of the role on offer.

Milkround conducted this survey by asking 2,000 UK adults, aged 18-65 and 2,010 individuals who have graduated in the past two years.





Darius is the editor of HRreview. He has previously worked as a finance reporter for the Daily Express. He studied his journalism masters at Press Association Training and graduated from the University of York with a degree in History.