Working long hours unnecessarily, getting stressed and not having the confidence and ambition to push themselves up the career ladder are the biggest career regrets UK retirees would pass on to graduates about to enter the workplace, new research reveals.

A study from online job board Monster.co.uk, designed to uncover wisdom and insight from full time retirees, shows that the emotive aspects of a job have a greater impact on satisfaction when reaching the end of a career, with a high salary only a source of pride for two percent of respondents.

Andy Sumner, Managing Director of Monster.co.uk, UK and Ireland, said:

“It can be very daunting entering the job market for the first time, and our research amongst recently retired workers offers some valuable and heartfelt insights that the younger generation should definitely pay attention too. As the research highlights, some of the biggest career regrets focus around not having the confidence to make a job change or staying in a work environment that deep down you know isn’t right for you.

“Work forms such a crucial part of our everyday lives, so it’s really important people ensure they are in a role that fulfills them, and not just in the financial sense. Those entering the market should take the time to research and look into the sectors and roles that interest them, and not be scared to try different areas if something doesn’t feel right. This is such an exciting time and, whether you realise it or not, at this stage in your life the world really is your oyster.”

Over a third of respondents (36%) said that they would recommend looking for a new job every three to four years, while just as many (39%) cited the value of keeping up to date with industry trends. Career success was closely linked to feeling respected; both within the industry and by colleagues, with 44 percent naming this as the aspect they were most proud of when looking back at their career.

The advice focused on the importance of not becoming complacent in the workplace, and finding a fulfilling job rather than one that simply pays the bills. 57 percent agreed that it’s important not to be scared to change jobs, whilst half of respondents (52%) urged today’s graduates to concentrate on finding one they love. One in three (33%) agreed it was important to always do something that makes you happy.

There were some warnings as well. A quarter of respondents cautioned against getting too drunk with colleagues and one in ten said today’s graduates should ensure they keep any work enemies close.

The average UK retiree was found to have worked for six organisations and reached their earning peak at the age of 50.