Impostor Syndrome Survey Results

Posted: 21 August 2019

We've recently conducted a survey to find out more about Imposter Syndrome; who experiences it, how it impacts their working lives, and what, if anything employers can do about it.

We surveyed 1,000 UK adults who are currently employed and have at least 3 years' experience in their field of work.

Some of the findings are startling.

85% of UK adults admitted to feeling inadequate or incompetent at work, and almost 70% don't feel they deserve their current success.

Of these, 1 in 4 said that they experience these feelings often or all the time.

These findings are particularly staggering as the responses came from 1,000 UK adults who are currently employed and have at least 3 years' experience in their field of work.

‘Imposter Syndrome' is a psychological pattern which causes chronic self-doubt and overwhelming feelings of inadequacy, often despite repeated success and accomplishments.

Of those surveyed, only 25% were aware of ‘Imposter Syndrome', however most respondents said they had experienced its effects.

Almost half of UK workers admitted to experiencing the kinds of intrusive thoughts that come with ‘Imposter Syndrome'. Of those experiencing intrusive thoughts;

  • 1 in 4 (25%) believe it is only due to luck/chance that they have achieved success
  • Almost 1 in 5 (39%) think that one day their boss or colleagues will realise they are underqualified (despite experience/qualifications)
  • 15% think they only got a job or promotion because the workplace was ‘short on candidates'
  • 11% don't think they deserve the praise or compliments that they receive about their success at work

How do we stop the crisis of self-doubt?

Good mental health is crucial to a happy and successful career and personal life, and sufferers of ‘Imposter Syndrome' may be at increased risk of anxiety – so what can employers do to eliminate it?

  • 3 in 5 (60%) respondents want to see more regular positive & helpful feedback on staff performance
  • 44% want employers to create a more open environment where staff are encouraged to talk about the challenges they face
  • 43% believe providing adequate coaching & mentors for staff will help
  • 2 in 5 (41%) want to ensure management staff are trained to assist with their employees' anxieties and self-doubt
  • 35% think employers should provide access to mental health services


If this is resonating for you, you're not alone.  Reach out for some support, and consider working on your resilience at work. Alternatively, view our management training courses and leadership training courses to see how these can help build your confidence.

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