Millions of British workers believe they have missed out on pay rises or promotions – because they are too shy to ask, it emerged today.
The figure was revealed following a study which examined how shyness or a lack of confidence affects us on a daily basis.
More than three quarters of adults feel they lack confidence and find it difficult to speak up in meetings at work or talk to work colleagues.
Around four out of ten admitted their shyness has meant they have missed out on pay rises and promotions at work, lost out on a job altogether or ruined their relationship with a partner.
It also emerged that for three in four, shyness has plagued them since their childhood with most saying it hasn’t got any better as they got older.
Veronica Bennetts, Director of Education at Stagecoach Theatre Arts School, said: “While most people have the odd moment where they feel a little shy or lacking in confidence, for some it is a much bigger issue that can affect every area of their life, both professionally and personally.
“If you are shy, it can mean you struggle to sell yourself in job interviews or find it difficult to deal with customers or clients when you are at work.
“When it comes to relationships, being shy or a nervous speaker can make getting to know someone a nightmare too.
“These results show that crippling shyness often stems from childhood and demonstrates the importance of carefully handling confidence issues at a young age so as not to plague adult years.
“We believe by building confidence in children through performance we can give them the communication skills to succeed in whatever profession they choose in later life.”
Of the members of the panel who were parents, half said they were worried their children are too shy or lack confidence, with 34 per cent thinking the amount of time they spend online is affecting their confidence levels.
Three quarters of those polled find it difficult to talk to people they have only just met and 43 per cent feel nervous speaking to their work colleagues.
Almost a third even find their shyness gets in the way of speaking to their own friends.
In the workplace, 41 per cent of people struggle to do presentations or head up meetings, while another 40 per cent are too shy to talk in meetings at all.
And 34 per cent of people say they aren’t confident enough to ask their boss for a pay rise, with another 29 per cent feeling too timid to go for a promotion.
Even getting a job in the first place proves difficult for some with 29 per cent saying they struggle to even get through interviews without clamming up.
Almost four in ten workers even admitted to relying on text or email to speak to their work colleagues or customers because they were too shy to pick up the phone to talk face-to-face.
And 38 per cent rely on email or social networking to talk to their friends because they lack the confidence to confront them about things face-to-face or over the phone.
Researchers also found that a third of Brits admit they avoid confronting their friends altogether because they are too nervous to approach them with issues, while another one in three wouldn’t dream of complaining in a restaurant.
Twenty-eight per cent also avoiding bringing up issues at work with a colleague because they are too shy to have the discussion, with a quarter saying the same when it comes to their boss.
* Stagecoach celebrates its 25th anniversary this month with Britain’s largest ever performance of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats in which 3,000 students aged 6-18 years will perform.
Exclusive permission has been given by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group for the extensive arena production, which will take place on Sunday 24th March at the National Indoor Arena, Birmingham.
For more information or to purchase tickets please visit www.stagecoach.co.uk/cats or call 0844 5814962.