Company Loyalty Could Be Pathway to Promotion

Company Loyalty Could Be Pathway to Promotion

63% of those in leadership roles were promoted from within
A manager meeting

Some say job-hopping is the best bet to reach your dream position. But new research suggests that staying at a company for the long haul and moving up the ladder from within may often be a better strategy for advancing your career.

For many workers, a successful career is one that leads to the leadership ranks. Global collaboration software provider Nulab surveyed workers who had landed a leadership role to find out how they did it.

While the survey found that most leaders were promoted internally, other factors — including gender — seemed to play a role. Likewise, the research also showed that these management positions didn’t necessarily come with additional financial rewards.

Climbing the corporate ladder

Having a successful career often requires planning and strategy. However, hard work and recognition also play a role.

For the majority of respondents, leadership and management roles were offered to them by the company they already worked for. Nearly two-thirds of respondents in these roles (63%) said they were promoted internally, compared to the remaining 37% who said their first role with their company was in leadership or management.

Millennials were most likely to be promoted from within. Among those in leadership positions:

  • 66% of millennials were promoted, while 34% were hired directly into the role
  • 59% of Gen Xers were promoted, compared to 41% hired directly
  • 59% of baby boomers were promoted, while 41% were hired directly

Respondents who entered management through a promotion had served with their company for an average of three years before they were offered a leadership role. Among those promoted, 59% said they were offered the position, compared to 41% who said they had to actively pursue the opportunity. The survey found a difference between the genders on this question, as men were slightly more likely to say they were offered the new position without asking (60%) than women (58%).

Pay raise for promotion is not always a given

The results also showed that promotions to a management job didn’t always come with better compensation.

While 4 in 5 respondents did receive a raise when they were promoted to leadership, some had to ask for the additional money. For example, 20% of millennials and 14% of Gen Xers reported having to specifically request additional compensation for their new post.

Those who had to ask for more money also tended to receive less of a raise, the survey found, receiving an average salary hike of $7,429, compared to $8,715 for those who were offered a raise with the promotion from the beginning.

Here too, gender appears to play a role. Men promoted internally received an average pay raise of $9,070, compared to women who received an average of $7,899. This stresses the importance of pushing back against such inequalities by negotiating your way out of the gender pay gap.

Meanwhile, younger employees also were likely to receive smaller raises, with promoted millennials receiving, on average, $8,261, compared to $9,009 for Gen Xers.

Methodology: Nulab surveyed 1,003 workers who self-identified as managers, supervisors, directors or executive managers. The generational breakdown among respondents was as follows: Baby boomers were defined as those born between 1946 and 1964, Generation Xers as those born between 1965 and 1980, millennials as born between 1981 and 1997, and members of Generation Z as born between 1998 and 2017. The survey was conducted in March 2020.

Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a Washington, DC-based writer who covers personal finance, entrepreneurship and careers.