Ten tired job ad buzzwords

Are you on the look-out for a 'passionate, motivated, innovative, organised' new recruit? Join the jargon club. You've just used four of the top ten buzzwords of the year.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013

Last month, job search website Adzuna analysed over 500,000 UK jobs ads to find out the buzzwords most over-used by British employers. It struck gold. Over half of all job ads posted in the last month have used at least one of the top three terms, demanding ‘communication skills’, or ‘passionate’ or ‘motivated’ applicants, and almost 90% of ads in the UK include at least one cliché from the top 10.

MT would like to take this opportunity to give you the Collins Dictionary definition of 'passionate': 'manifesting or exhibiting intense sexual feeling or desire'. Not necessarily something you want in the workplace...

Here’s the full list of 2012 buzzwords:

Buzzword Number of jobs % of all UK jobs
Communication Skills 106,223 20%
Passionate 93,102 18%
Motivated 61,022
Organised 40,154 8%
Track Record 36,290 7%
Innovative 30,709 6%
Dynamic 28,002 5%
Proactive 27,022 5%
Creative 23,434
Enthusiastic 22,482 4%

And it doesn’t end there. There are a host of new and ‘wacky’ buzzwords being used to lure in talent, mainly in the digital space. As of last month, 596 UK employers were trying to hire a ‘guru’, 70 wanted a ‘ninja’ (the web variety, rather than a genuine kung fu master), and one employer was even seeking a ‘Jedi’.

Tech giants Google, Apple and Facebook appear to be leading the charge on these new stylistic superlatives, with more than 100 job ads from these companies making it into the wacky list. Although restaurant chain Nando’s is also in a league of its own: it only accepts candidates of ‘legendary’ status.

Check out the top 10 wackiest job buzzwords:

Buzzword Number of jobs Average salary
Guru 596 £45,860
71 £44,237
67 £51,230
Superhero 66 £29,090
Wizard 64 £31,858
Legend 23 £33,391
Supremo 8 £49,010
Boffin 4 £45,902
Overlord 1 £50,201
Jedi 1 £49,010

Interestingly, it turns out that these labels have salary implications. ‘Rockstars’ and ‘overlords’ are paid £50,000 a year on average, double the UK average wage, while ‘superheros’ and ‘wizards’ are on more mortal salaries: between £29,000 and £31,000. Accenture, the NHS and Sainsbury’s have been crowned the most jargon-tastic companies in the UK, with 95% of job ads from these companies including at least four of the top 10 most overused buzzwords.

Are you a buzzword abuser? Confess in the comment box below.

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