More than a quarter of workers in the UK choose their career paths in order to avoid their office fears, according to job site CV-Library.

The survey of more than 3,000 workers found that public speaking (15.7%) was the biggest qualm that makes blood run cold in the office. Delivering presentations (12.2%) and cold calling (11.5%) completed the top three.

Leading a meeting (7.3%), missing targets (6.7%), speaking on the phone (6.4%), attending social events (6%), managing budgets (5.7%), liaising with senior staff (4.8%) and being away from home (3.4%) all completed the top ten.

The survey also uncovered how UK professionals react when faced with one of their work-based worries. Despite many workers selecting a career that removes them entirely from the situation, the majority of those who choose to face their fears appear to do so in a positive, proactive way. However, there are professionals who have adopted potentially damaging behaviours to help them deal with their workplace anxieties, which could become a real cause for concern. The top 10 reactions amongst UK workers, include:

  1. Tackle it head on – 26.6%
  2. Use as an opportunity to grow – 15.6%
  3. Ignore it – 12.2%
  4. Avoid the situation for as long as possible – 9%
  5. Keep a low profile - 7.6%
  6. Panic – 4%
  7. Call in sick – 2%
  8. Make up an excuse to get out of it – 2.2%
  9. Take annual leave – 1%
  10. Become aggressive – 1%
Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library, said: “While it’s discouraging to see that so many workers are closing themselves off to career opportunities as a result of their fears, it is positive to see that many are choosing to face their worries confidently. With the New Year approaching, January is the perfect time for the nation’s professionals to overcome their anxieties. We urge businesses to encourage staff to face their career fears and open themselves up to a host of new career possibilities in 2016.”

Interestingly, when asked to identify the best ways to address workplace fears, over half of workers (51.7%) felt ‘training opportunities and managerial support’ would be the most helpful.

Mr Biggins added: “Many workers would massively benefit from extra support from their employer. Businesses can help their staff address and overcome their anxieties by providing additional training and mentoring programmes.”