Wondering why you’re not being promoted at work? The flaw in human nature to assume that new is always better.

We looked at the start and end dates on millions of jobs in the resumes in our database and something startling. Only 11.5% of advancements – moving up the ranks from employee to manager, manager to senior manager or director, director to VP – happen within an organization. The other 88% of the time people climb the ranks, they do it by changing companies.

The new normal has become for people to change jobs every two – three years. And for the vast majority of us, this is the only way to move up

People say that they would like to stay longer, to grow their career within a company. We asked 4,500 Canadians, “All things being equal when it comes to salary, benefits, and location, what do you consider most important when evaluating a new position?”

For the largest group, 25 per cent of respondents, the deciding factor was “Opportunities for Advancement.” People are looking for those positions that allow them to grow their careers.

If a company cannot offer its employees opportunities for career growth, they’re going to go find it for themselves elsewhere. You have to move on to move up.

    “The reason people leave companies is most often the same reason as they came to them in the first place,” says Tara Talbot, Vice President of Human Resources for Workopolis. “When you ask people in job interviews why they want to join your team, they usually say it’s a great opportunity to advance their careers, in line with their goals. At exit interviews, people similarly say they’re leaving because of lack of advancement – they’ve found an opportunity to advance their careers – elsewhere.”

New is always better

The majority of employers we surveyed told us that they do not have a succession plan in place, and that if a key manager or director were to leave, they would have to hire externally. The most common reason, 40 per cent of employers feel that “There’s no one qualified currently at my company.”

“Managers judge people they know and have worked with for years much more harshly than someone they have just met,” says Tara Talbot.

“This is why employers will often hire someone they’ve met only once or twice for a job interview over someone currently employed at their company.”

New is always better. Cheating spouse syndrome is standing between you and a promotion.

New isn’t always better

However, those employees who do manage to overcome the ‘new is always better’ bias and are promoted within an organization tend to be the people who achieve the greatest levels of overall success. Their careers advance further and faster than those of the people who have to job hop to move up.

Promotions also leads to employee loyalty. People who advance to a higher level at a company will stay with that organization for an average of 7.5 years, or 200% longer than the majority of people who do not receive promotions.

This research was done for our most recent employment report, Thinkopolis VI: Moving Work. You can read the report, infographic, and all of our previous studies at http://workopolis.com/research.


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