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Vague job ads “wasting people’s time and business’ money"

16 Mehefin 2015

Many online job adverts missing basic information about hours and pay.

Nine out of ten (88 per cent) adverts on internet job portals fail to meet Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) requirements, reveals new research from Citizens Advice.

The national charity warns that poor job adverts can waste people’s time when they’re trying to find work or progress their career. Job ads missing basic information about wages and hours leave people unable to assess if the job would allow them to pay the bills or fit around commitments such as childcare.

Vague job ads also risk wasting employers’ time and money. A lack of information could increase the number of unsuitable applications received and risks putting stronger candidate off applying.

Citizens Advice analysis of over 800 job adverts across three online recruitment portals finds:

  • 2 in 5 adverts are unclear about whether the job is full or part-time.

  • 1 in 5 adverts don’t tell applicants how much they will be paid.

  • 2 in 5 adverts are not clear if the role is temporary or permanent.

  • 1 in 10 jobs adverts do not specify either an employer or an agency, so applicants don’t know who they’re sending their details to.

The analysis also shows self-employed roles are not always advertised as such.  The research finds that in 12 per cent of cases adverts included content suggesting self-employment, such as commission only roles, without explicitly saying that they are.

Citizens Advice is calling for online recruitment portals to ensure that job ads abide by ASA guidelines.  Job websites should also have a clear reporting mechanism for any adverts that don’t meet these standards.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“Vague job ads risk wasting people’s time and business’ money.  People seeking employment face a real challenge if job adverts don’t even tell them if they’ll earn enough to keep a roof over their head. Applying for jobs where hours and pay are unclear consuming valuable hours of job hunting time.

“Employers can also have their time wasted as they receive high numbers of unsuitable applications. This can be an inefficient recruitment process, meaning they’re less likely to get the best person for the job.

“Requiring recruiters posting job adverts to include a minimum standard of information would help people decide whether to apply for a role. Employers would also benefit from a better matched pool of applicants.”


Notes to editors

  1. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local Citizens Advice, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
  2. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
  3. To get advice online or find your local bureau in England and Wales, visit
  4. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers.
  5. Local Citizens Advice in England and Wales advised 2.5 million clients on 6.2 million problems in 2014/15. For full service statistics see our publication Advice trends.