10 Surprising Job Promotion Statistics

By Marc Cenedella  on Sunday, February 12, 2023

Marc Cenedella

Marc Cenedella is a nationally recognized thought leader on careers, resume writing, job search, career management and recruiting, Marc is frequently sought out by national media organizations for his expert commentary on employment, resumes, the job search and the job market.

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The job market has seen a lot of ups and downs over the past few years with events like the Great Resignation and the pandemic catalyzing the shift toward hybrid work.

People’s priorities have shifted. There has been an increasing demand for flexibility and autonomy within the workplace.

All of these factors have affected job promotions and raises within organizations in every industry.

We collected the 10 most surprising job promotion statistics that will give you a better idea of how the job market has changed and where things are headed in 2023.

Let’s dive right in.

1. At the start of last year, the job promotion rate had increased by 9% over the previous year, recovering from the 7.4% drop from 2019-2020 (Source)

Chart showing the job promotion percentage change from 2019 to 2021

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Gains in the job promotion rate over the course of 2021 ended with a rate .9% higher than it was before the pandemic. This growth follows a series of severe cutbacks and closures during the pandemic, resulting in a 7.4% decline over the course of 2020 (from January through October).

The current promotion situation is a stark contrast to what we saw in 2020, and although the combined rate from 2019 to 2021 looked fairly flat, we now know that promotion growth is climbing.

For the employee, this has two major indications:

  1. It’s more important than ever to update (and upgrade) your resume.
  2. They need to note their own accolades and bring them up during evaluations.

Here are some great (and effective!) resume examples to help you upgrade your resume.

2. A LinkedIn study found Fayetteville led the top cities for career growth, with a promotion rate 47% above the national average (Source)

List showing the cities with the best promotion rates.

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Austin (142%), San Francisco (137%), Denver (131%), and Boston (131%) rounded out the top five cities for receiving a promotion. Seattle (128%), Raleigh-Duram (126%), New York City (124%), Chicago (124%), and Nashville (116%) were also in the top 10.

On top of that, product management jobs had the highest internal promotion rate at 149% above the national average, followed by marketing jobs at 94%. Following that are project and program management jobs at 51%, a significant dip but important nonetheless.

Accounting and human resources are next on the list, with 47% and 44% respectively. Although growth in business development ranked lower at 26% over the national average, most of the growth was in Fayetteville, Santa Barbara, and Santa Maria.

The jobs with the lowest promotion growth rates were finance at 18%, and sales as well as consulting both at 13%.

3. Women are 8% less likely to ask for a promotion than men (Source)

Bar chart showing how likely it is for men to ask for a promotion vs how likely it is for women to ask for a raise

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The PricewaterhouseCoopers study also found that women are 8% less likely to feel that their superior listens to them, and are generally dissatisfied with their pay.

This leads to the same overarching conversation about inequality in the workplace that companies and communities have been having for years. It also highlights the need for workplace reform to make female employees feel more valued and better compensated.

4. 35% of workers plan to ask their employers for a raise or promotion in the next 12 months (Source)

graphs showing percentage of workers that plan to ask their employers for a promotion

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At 44%, the tech sector has the highest number of people planning to ask for a raise or promotion. On the other side of the scale is the public sector with only 25% of workers planning to ask for a pay raise.

On the broader front, we have 35% of the total surveyed workforce planning to ask for a raise. In terms of numbers, this is significant as it indicates that over one third of all workers feel that they are paid too little.

What’s even more important is how the same survey puts the duration of this pressure at around 12 months following the survey. This means that 35% of the workforce may be angling for raises, and doing so relatively all at once. Those who are successful may advance at their companies, and those who are unsuccessful may be rejoining the job market to find a company that will pay them what they deserve.

All of this points to how important it is for you to build the best case for your promotion, considering the competition will be stiff. One way to do this would be to focus on your career wins and use them to demonstrate how you’re deserving of a raise. Here’s how you can track the numerical values that your successes have contributed to the company.

5. 47% of deskless workers would rather have more job autonomy and flexibility than a raise or promotion (Source)

Pie chart showing percentage of deskless workers that would prefer more autonomy and flexibility over a raise

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The deskless workforce includes people like traffic control professionals, nurses and other people in healthcare roles, and on-site technicians, to name a few.

Historically, these jobs have not allowed for much autonomy and flexibility in terms of preferred workflow, location, and working hours.

Additionally, 77% of the survey respondents said that they wanted more flexibility, autonomy, or both. To be clear, the survey defined “flexibility” as being allowed to choose when or where they worked, and “autonomy” as how much freedom they had from supervisor oversight in their day-to-day tasks.

Since current positions didn’t offer such opportunities, 51% of deskless workers were willing to leave their current employers and 36% were willing to learn how to use new systems and technology.

Breaking down those numbers, we find that 40% of workers wanted more flexibility and 17% wanted more autonomy, while 20% wanted both. Interestingly, 23% did not want either of those things and were apparently satisfied with how things were at their current position.

6. 56% of HR professionals in the U.S. provide in-house training for new roles, and 53% reach out to employees to discuss open roles (Source)

Image showing stats of how HR professionals offer and interact with employees regarding in house training

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Meanwhile, 33% of HR professionals use content to communicate a culture of mobility and employee growth.

For employers who try to make the most of their existing workforce instead of bringing on new people, the strategy of 53% of them, to personally reach out to internal employees, may not be scalable in the long run.

The same study found that 96% of HR professionals say that developing and displaying a culture of growth and mobility on external fronts such as job sites is great for recruitment.

Employers could listen to HR and foster a culture of growth and mobility for internal talent as well.

This will have the benefit of building greater trust of the employer among all workers, not just the ones selected for promotion. New employees will come in knowing that everyone has a fair chance of promotion, which is great for retention as well.

7. Only 49% of companies have manager training that covers ensuring fair promotions within their team, while 76% proactively support employee career development (Source)

Chart showing percentage of companies that have training for managers to ensure fair promotion

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Also, only 82% of companies train managers to promote inclusion and a sense of belonging within the teams.

What’s surprising is that aspects of team management such as fair promotions and employees’ career development are often not a part of managers’ performance evaluations.

In fact, only 43% of companies featured managing employee career development in their manager training, and 34% of companies featured progress on diversity, equity, and inclusion as part of managerial performance evaluations.

This has two implications on both the employees and managers:

  1. If managers are not trained in a specific area of team management, it’s usually unfair to evaluate them on it.
  2. Poor evaluations affect the workforce at large since managers may further mismanage teams as a result of poor evaluations.

All of this will eventually fall on senior leadership. To prevent this from the get-go, leadership needs to implement continuous training and development of managers on every team building and management aspect.

8. In the past two years, 48% of female leaders switched jobs to advance their careers, compared to 44% of male leaders (Source)

Chart showing difference between male and female leaders switching jobs to advance their careers

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According to a McKinsey study, 31% of female leaders of all ages believe that advancing in their careers has become more important in the last two years. This percentage is higher among female leaders under 30, at 58%.

A desire for flexibility was even more popular, with 66% of female leaders (including 76% of women under 30) considering workplace flexibility as more important to them than other factors. Separating by gender, we find that 20% of female leaders preferred flexibility, compared to just 13 percent of male leaders.

The common pattern among all of this is that younger women are more passionate about progressive working environments. Work-life balance, inclusivity, managerial support, flexibility, and a culture of commitment to employee wellbeing are all part of such an environment.

Coincidentally, the same women that seek organizational change are also the women leaders of tomorrow. It will be better for both executive management and companies overall to consider these preferences and create the ideal nurturing ground for better female leadership.

In addition to that, executives have to lead by example. According to the same report, two-thirds of women below 30 say that they would consider advancing if their leadership shared their ideals and had similar views on work-life balance.

9. 36% of employees in the U.S. expect a promotion in the next 12 months while 58% expect a pay raise (Source)

Chart showing expectations of employees in the U.S. and Canada

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For comparison, only 25% of employees in Canada expect a promotion while a slightly fewer 55% expect a pay raise. This means U.S. employees are more likely to expect these things than Canadian employees.

U.S. employees were also more likely to expect a bonus (37% vs. 29%), increased responsibility (37% vs. 29%), increased skills/training (36% to 30%), a formal reviews (21% vs 19%), and a proposed pay reduction due to the shift to remote work (9% vs 4%).

The report also found that 91% of U.S. workers were satisfied with their current position of employment, with Canadians at (87%). For the 9% of U.S. workers who were unsatisfied, the main cause (at 40%) of their dissatisfaction was a lack of support from management.

Overall employee optimism has also grown. Globally, 86% of workers are optimistic about their current work and future job prospects. This is up from 78% in 2021. Generally, employees are developing higher expectations from management and employers.

What’s surprising is that all of this is despite workers wanting significant change and reform in the workplace. In fact, the same report also showed that 70% of workers considered a major change of career in the past 12 months. Plus, 70% of employees are prepared to look for another job if their current workplace culture doesn’t involve diversity and inclusion. This is a clear sign for managers and executives to research and implement policies that align with these ideals.

10. 71% of employees would rather work from anywhere than get a promotion (Source)

Pie chart showing percentage of employees that would prefer more job flexability than getting a promotion.

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The report also found that 87% of employees don’t want a full-time, in-house role, and would prefer flexibility of location.

This stems from the fact that after the initial pandemic wave, employees discovered how plausible and effective a fully remote or hybrid workplace structure is in terms of location. Of surveyed workers, 42% prefer a hybrid work policy (some combination of on-location and remote work). Also, 36% of 25-34 year-olds are thinking about working somewhere else within six months.

These are important numbers for c-suite executives to consider, since they are directly linked to employee retention and engagement — in the presence of adverse geo-social conditions, no less. Upper management should provide employees with the right tools to maximize their potential in both hybrid, and remote working situations.

Additionally, executives need to consider the strain that remote and hybrid work puts on IT systems and staff. To deal with this, they need to implement new tech and tools that streamline workflow and enable more efficient collaboration.

Final thoughts: Tips for maximizing your job promotion potential

Considering the state of promotions around the world, here is what you can do to maximize your chances of getting a promotion.

  • Track your own performance over a period of time and evaluate whether you performed to your full potential.
  • Ask your managers and direct supervisors for feedback and ask for any tips on how you can improve.
  • Make it clear to upper management that you intend to climb the workplace ladder and prove that you’re capable of it.
  • Get noticed for your achievements instead of setbacks.
  • Create a winning resume that presents your biggest career wins and demonstrates your capabilities for next-level positions.

An effective resume presents your skills and successes, and uses a carefully crafted professional headline and professional summary, to pitch you as a strong candidate. This can be for potential future employers or a higher position at your current company. We can help you create a winning resume that will show your employer why they should promote you.

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