Possible Reasons You Aren't Getting Promoted

Possible Reasons You Aren’t Getting Promoted

You were passed over for promotion again? That is so sad and you probably feel disappointed. We are so sorry you feel that way. Every employee looks forward to a promotion. Remaining in one position in your job for a long time can leave you feeling stuck in your career. A promotion is visible proof that your career is advancing. It could even mean a pay raise, a fancy title, a plush office with your name on the door, a company car, and all the perks that may come with a new position. So it is pretty obvious why anyone would feel bad if they do not get a promotion, especially if they have been expecting it for a while if they have been passed over a couple of times while most of their colleagues get one, or if their job contract promised room for growth at a certain point.


However, if you get passed over for a promotion, it is unlikely that the mail you will be sent or the meeting you have with your boss will bluntly list the reason. Your employer may try to sound commiserating and will not like to hurt your feelings more than you have been hurt by the disappointment. They might give you a rough idea like telling you that you did not do so well in the promotional exams. So all you can do is speculate. Some employees have even gone ahead to assume that they did not get a promotion because their employer is partial and dislikes them. While that may be possible, it is not always the case. Therefore, it is always good to have an idea of the reasons why some employees get passed over for promotion. You need explicit information to prevent a failed promotion from happening again. That way, you can work on yourself before the next promotion. Dig in!

  • You Did Not Qualify: Although it is painful, it is always good to tell yourself the truth. You are the only one allowed to be very blunt when having conversations with yourself. Instead of taking the situation personal, face the facts. For companies and organizations that organize promotional exams and interviews, if you are told that you did not get the promotion because you did not make the cut-off, try to find out sections of the exam where you did not do well. It would be futile to lie to yourself that you earned a promotion when it is very clear you did not. Do not waste valuable time laying the blame on someone else, beating yourself up, or concluding that you will never do well. You can ask those who made the cut or your employer what you can do to do better next time. Ask for feedback and work on it. Go back to the drawing board and be determined to right your wrongs. This will involve preparing and studying harder.


  • You Do Not Have the InDemand Skills: Calm down, this article is not meant to talk you down. Actually, we are trying to do the opposite – to help you build yourself and your career. You might think, “I show up for work every day”, “I work hard in my current position” or “I perform all my tasks on time.” That is commendable but qualifying for a position requires reaching out and being extra. Reaching out calls for building your personal brand. The best way to do this is to improve your skillset. A strong skillset makes it easier for you to have problem-solving For instance, getting promoted in your company might require knowing how to use a computer very well because the position requires collating data and submitting reports with a computer. Your present position may not really require much use of a computer but taking the initiative and improving on your computer skills as you look forward to that position shows management that you are skilled and ready to get promoted. If and when you are considered for a promotion, you can proudly say that you have what it takes to fill in the position. Having valuable skills will help you perform efficiently in your current position and prepare you for a bigger role. Improve on skills that qualify you for the position you are looking forward to and exhibit them even as you are still in your current position. That will make you stand out and certainly point you out to your employers. Some employees stop garnering new skills once they land a job. That could bring one’s career to a grinding halt. In-demand skills are the new currency in the corporate world right now. Chances are that a lot of your colleagues have the same qualifications as you and work hard too. To break the tie when choosing candidates for promotion, management will likely pick employees who have gone out of their way to improve themselves, candidates who are all-rounders, and who have familiarized themselves with all aspects of the job. It would be a mere fantasy to expect a promotion if all you do is come to work every day, do only the tasks you are assigned and go back home. In-demand skills do not only mean technical skills but soft skills like leadership, communication, emotional intelligence, conflict negotiation, and problem-solving skills. It involves how your people skills, how you react to criticism and feedback. Hard skills can get you in but soft skills will help you get far. If you are always in conflict with your colleagues or have a hard time communicating your ideas and suggestions, then you will likely be passed over for a promotion and it is quite obvious why. A promotion comes with greater responsibilities than what you already have and you need valuable skills to handle the challenges that come with them. It could even be a leadership role like a managerial position and if you have shown that you cannot handle a small team, your ability to manage something bigger will be severely doubted. Your employer needs to be assured that you have what it takes to fill that position.


  • You Have Not Shown Your Interest: As we have already pointed out when you improve on the needed skills for promotion, you need to exhibit them. Why? Because you cannot be waiting for a promotion solely based on the assumption that your employer knows you want one. Sometimes, it might not be obvious to your boss that you want a promotion. How then do you show your interest? Take initiative by proffering solutions to problems and working independently. Employers notice an employee that is ok with working on their own and does not need to be told things multiple times. Demonstrate a level of competence that is very visible to all. Find opportunities to show your employer that you are interested in moving forward, especially in an organization where there is a reasonable distance between management and employees. There is absolutely no law against meeting your employer and telling him of your goals and plans. That way, you make yourself visible. When you have the necessary skills needed, then it is easier for you to show, not just tell them, why you are a good fit for promotion. However, take care not to present yourself as an overly ambitious, selfish person who desires only to move up without caring about the well-being of the company. Show your employer that your plans for promotion will benefit the company as well.
  • You are not Yet Eligible: Some companies do not consider an employee for promotion until they have worked for a specified period of time, reached a certain age, or based on any other metrics or standards they use to measure eligibility. Do your best in your current position and gather Relevant skills as you wait for when you can become eligible.

Final Thoughts

This article has provided four possible reasons why you are not getting and while they might not be that fun to consider (no one wants to come to terms with the fact that they might have played a role in something negative that happened to them), they can be the wake-up call you need that will ensure you work harder to qualify for a promotion. Remember too that sometimes, the fault could lie with the company. The company might be going through a rough patch and might even be laying off workers. If that is the case, they are not really strong enough to consider promoting employees. Also, if the company is partial and not clearly giving you room for growth, then it might be time to look for opportunities in some other place. We are always rooting for you and hope you get promoted!

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