Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Rapid Promotion: Benefit or Disadvantage?

It's surprising to see how rapidly promotions are happening these days. Every time I run into a colleague, I discover they have moved up. No longer are workers taking the long route to top positions. On average, it's taking them anywhere between two to three years to move into lower-level management positions.

It could be a new trend to satisfy the needs of the new generation. A 2011 PwC study of millennials revealed that this generation is more eager to progress at work than any preceding generation. If companies won't promote them, they are more than willing to move on to a company that is. It could also be that the type of positions companies are offering are changing as well. It's not uncommon to find committees set up to help companies meet specific goals. They work as project coordinators and oversee the implementation of strategies from start to finish. Qualified employees work more as internal consultants.

With all this rapid movement into higher positions, you can't help but wonder what challenges the workforce faces in the future. Promotions are good, but when they're happening at a faster pace there are implications as well as benefits.

These are the advantages and setbacks running through my mind:

Benefits:

  • Promotions require advanced skills and knowledge. Today's workers are expected to build their skill set at a faster pace than any other generation. Work environments are changing fast as companies enter new markets and expand into the global environment to keep up with the competition. This has forced workers to gain additional knowledge and pursue certifications to stay updated and marketable. A smarter, more advanced workforce is a plus to any company.
  • When employees move up, they open more entry level positions for new candidates. This translates to more jobs, especially as more women are entering the workforce.
  • More women will move into executive positions. This can help narrow the gender work gap and encourage more women to pursue professional jobs.
Setbacks:
  • There can be so many positions to fill at the top, which means that at some point in their careers, workers will start dropping out of the workforce or retiring earlier. Competition at top levels will be fierce, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. If retirements become premature, it will cause a huge problem if workers are inadequately prepared. Studies show that the typical 401k is underfunded and many professionals are having to work long before retirement. If they are unable to support themselves, then who will.
  • Companies may be moving unqualified workers to the top to keep up with this change. This can lead a business down the wrong path. It's a big risk that businesses can't take in todays competitive environment.
Right now, this is all I can think of. What challenges and benefits do you see?

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