How do you pick a career? Fear is a key motivator for a quarter of UK workers, but at least we're tackling it face on

Hayley Kirton
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Public speaking brings many employees out in a cold sweat (Source: Getty)

It's not childhood dreams or passion for a particular subject that motivates many people to pick their career path. Research from jobs website CV-Library has found that just over a quarter (26 per cent) of UK workers choose their job because they were trying to avoid certain workplace fears.

In the survey of more than 3,000 UK professionals, public speaking topped the list of things that made workers dread the office, with 16 per cent naming this as a fear of theirs.

Cold calling (12 per cent) and leading a meeting (seven per cent) also ranked highly on the list of woes.

Top 10 workplace fears

Public speaking - 16%

Presenting - 12%

Cold calling - 12%

Heading up a meeting - 7%

Missing targets - 7%

Talking on the phone - 6%

Attending social events - 6%

Managing budgets - 6%

Liasing with senior staff - 5%

Being away from home - 3%

"With the New Year approaching, January is the perfect time for the nation’s professionals to overcome their anxieties," said Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library. "We urge workers to face their career fears and open themselves up to a host of new career possibilities in 2016."

It could be worse, of course – for example, you could always drop your lunch down yourself just before giving a presentation. A survey by the British Heart Foundation last year discovered that spilling something on our clothes ranked as worker's number one workplace nightmare.

British Heart Foundation's top ten list also featured accidentally hitting reply all on an email and having to make small talk with a colleague while making a cup of tea in the kitchen.

Despite the anxieties, other surveys and findings suggest that this week is the week the nation will be out job hunting. Last month, CV-Library found that 7.7m workers would decide to leave their jobs while drawing up their list of New Year's resolutions.

Read more: Tea, sick days and fights: Here's how your career adds up

Also, it would seem people might be happy to overlook a minor detail like breaking out in a cold sweat every time they're faced with the prospect of speaking in front of an audience it comes with a generous pay packet attached. A survey by Red Letter Days for Business found that 43 per cent of people who would be looking for another role in 2016 were doing so for better pay.

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