If you’ve been working at a company for a number of years, but not progressed within the business, you’ll probably be wondering why you’ve been overlooked. You may look back over your achievements that have benefited the company, and be convinced that you’ve done enough to deserve a promotion. So the question is, why haven’t you gotten one yet? 

The simple answer is usually the fact that you haven’t asked. Many managers won’t really consider promoting someone out of the blue, even if they have produced exceptional work. Of course, actually asking for a promotion is rarely easy - it can be a very uncomfortable topic to bring up! 

If you think you’re overdue for a promotion, and are wondering why, as well as how to get one, we’ve provided some guidance below! First, let’s go through the top four reasons why people haven’t been promoted yet:

1. You Haven’t Asked for a Promotion 

Very few companies will promote someone unless they approach their manager first. While an unsolicited promotion may have been common in the past, these days you need to ask for progression. If you don’t bring it up with your manager, it’s likely that they’ll assume you’re happy in your current role and aren’t looking for a promotion.

2. There Isn’t a Suitable Role Available 

You may be working for a tiny organisation, with very few managerial positions available. Or perhaps your workplace is currently making cutbacks and laying people off, so simply can’t afford to promote anyone. In these situations, you may need to seek progression opportunities elsewhere.

3. You Assume Being Friendly With Your Boss Will Help

Just because you get on well with your boss doesn't mean they will promote you. In fact, in some cases it makes it harder, as it could look like favouritism. You need to ensure you’re going above and beyond in your job role, not just having nice chats with your boss, if you’re serious about getting promoted. 

4. Other People Have Asked First

This one can be rather frustrating. There may be colleagues who, as much as you like them, haven’t worked as hard as you, but have still been promoted. The hard truth is that they’ve probably put themselves out there, and got what they asked for. But don’t despair - you may be able to get a promotion too if you ask for one!

people in an office celebrating a promotion

How To Ask For a Promotion 

You should now understand the reason you’ve not been offered progression opportunities, regardless of how warranted they may be. The next step is to actually approach your manager and ask for a promotion! Unfortunately there’s no easy way to broach the subject, but if you follow the below steps, you should give yourself the best chance of success.

Make Sure You’re Prepared

When you ask for a promotion, your manager is going to ask you the reasons you think you deserve one. You therefore can’t go into the meeting unprepared! Make sure you’ve considered all the points in your favour when it comes to progression - the more specific the better. 

List your accomplishments to date, especially anything that has really helped the business. For instance, if one of your initiatives helped the company’s sales increase, provide the statistics! Essentially, you need to demonstrate that you’ve gone above and beyond in your current role. 

Wait for The Right Time

While there is no perfect time to discuss a promotion, some times may be better than others. If you have a regular review with your manager (these are usually annual) that could be a great time to bring up your progression. It’s also a good idea to book the meeting at the start of the day, otherwise you’ll probably stress about it for hours beforehand. 

You should additionally think about the timing within your company. If people are already being reshuffled, it could be the perfect opportunity to ask for a promotion. And even if your employer isn’t raking in the profit at the moment, a promotion isn’t just about the money. You may only get a small pay rise, but hopefully the additional responsibilities will be worth it, alongside the chance that you’ll be paid more when the company is doing better financially. 

Follow Up and Ask for Feedback

Hopefully you’ll get the promotion when you ask for it, but there’s no guarantee that it will be the best time. If you aren’t offered a promotion, try not to let it dishearten you, and don’t end the conversation there. Make sure you understand what the next steps will be, and what you need to do in order to progress. 

For example, if you’re told that you don’t have the right qualifications for the managerial role you wanted, do your best to get them! Or if there simply aren’t any positions available, put a date in the diary to revisit the option of a promotion. Above all, don’t give up! Even if you’re not able to progress in your current workplace, there will always be opportunities elsewhere.


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