Joana Ferreira
Joana Ferreira

Career Advancement

Man in Black Suit Sitting on Chair Beside Buildings

Did you know the lack of career advancement is the top reason why US workers are quitting their previous job?

According to a McKinsey global survey, a lack of career advancement and development is now the leading cause of 44% of people quitting their primary jobs, followed by insufficient pay and uninspiring and careless leaders.

The survey was done on people who are currently employed and plan to leave, those who plan to stay, and those who quit their previous job between 2021 and 2022.

Chart showing the top reasons for quitting from Lack of career development to inadequate resource accessibility
Source: McKinsey study from

In addition, a study from Pew Research Center reaffirms that most US workers left their jobs in 2021 due to a lack of career advancement opportunities, low pay, and poor management.

Bar showing the major and minor reason number

What does career advancement mean to you? Is it something you aspire to or something you dread?

Career advancement doesn't have to mean a promotion or a pay raise; it could also mean personal growth, work-life balance, and career satisfaction. Let's explore the definition of career advancement.

Career Advancement: Definition

Career advancement refers to any change in position that results in an increase in pay, benefits, responsibilities, prestige, status, or promotion opportunities.

In short, career advancement means different things to different people. For some, it means climbing the corporate ladder and earning more money. Others see it as having a better job title or being promoted within their current company. Still, others want to advance their careers by moving into new industries altogether.

Regardless of where you stand, career advancement should always be viewed positively. If you don't believe in yourself, no one else will either.

Career Advancement: Benefits

Career advancement is an important part of anyone's life. It helps you advance your career and become successful. Besides that, career advancement typically equals higher compensation, an increase in skills, and a better resume to help you achieve your goals.

See below the benefits of career advancement:

  • It allows you to be part of something bigger than yourself
  • It gives you the opportunity to learn new things
  • It guarantees job security
  • Ability to network with successful people

Career Advancement: Challenges

Career advancement barriers can pop up anywhere. In fact, there are many different types of obstacles you might encounter along the way.

The most common challenges of career advancement and how to overcome them are explained below.

1. You're too old

There’s no doubt about it—ageism exists in every workplace. If you’ve worked in your current role for several years, chances are you’ll be passed over for promotions because of your age. But don't let that discourage you.

Look into mentoring programs where older employees help younger workers learn what it takes to succeed in their field. There are plenty of ways to keep yourself engaged and productive while advancing your career.

2. You lack relevant skills

If you’re stuck in a job without much opportunity for career growth, it could be because you aren’t skilled enough to do anything else. This is especially true if you lack technical skills like coding or data analysis.

Ensure you're learning new things by taking advantage of training opportunities. Maybe its time to complete some additional training or a degree.

3. Your boss doesn't know what he/she wants

If you work for a manager who isn’t clear about his or her goals, you won’t know what to focus on. And if you don’t see what you want out of your career path, it's hard to figure out how to move forward.

Take initiative and reach out. Consider taking advantage of the opportunity to learn new skills. This may mean learning something completely different than what you've done. Therefore, it's essential to keep an open mind about what you want to know.

Ways to Overcome the Challenges in your Career

There are many ways to overcome the challenges in your career, including seeking advice from others in similar positions, taking online courses to improve your skills, or reading books or articles on the topic.

You could also join a professional networking group or attend workshops and conferences. If you are struggling with a specific issue, you could seek help from a career coach or therapist.

Keep reading for some other ways to overcome the challenges in your career.

Invest in yourself

Confidence is an important part of success. It helps you get things done and gives you the courage to take risks. But how do you start building it?

  • Certifications. Certification is one way to build your confidence. You can earn certification in several areas, including programming languages, networking, and project management. Once you've earned those certificates, you can put them on your resume. This helps you stand out among other candidates.
  • Projects. Another great way to build your confidence is to work on projects. If you're working on a personal project, set goals and milestones for yourself. Then, every time you reach a milestone pat yourself on the back.

Think outside the box

The best way to advance within an organization is to find a position where you'll be able to make a difference. You might want to look outside your current department or across companies altogether.

  • Think beyond your position. If you don't see yourself moving up internally, consider applying for external positions. These roles are usually much less competitive and offer more variety. They also tend to come with bigger paychecks and better benefits packages.
  • Identify opportunities. Identifying opportunities for professional growth and exploring ways to develop your skills will help you achieve your goals and provide numerous opportunities to network across departments, increasing your chances of success.

Be open to new tasks

YouIf you are open to new tasks, you can learn new skills and gain experience if you are available for new jobs. You may also find yourself working with people who are better at what they do than you are. All this will make you a stronger candidate for future promotions.

  • Ask your boss for more challenging tasks. If you want to advance at work, look for opportunities to add value to the organization. You don't necessarily have to ask for promotions; sometimes, it happens naturally.
  • Offer to help out other employees. Helping others helps you too. Show your colleagues that you're willing to go above and beyond to make things better.

Whatever approach you take, stay positive and be patient – it may take some time to overcome the obstacles in your career.

In the next section, we will cover some strategies to help you advance your career.

Career Advancement: Strategies

Man in Black Suit Sitting on Chair Beside Buildings

With today’s competitive job market, finding the right path to career advancement is crucial. There are many opportunities for those willing to follow their career aspirations.

But where do you start? Here are some tips to help you achieve career advancement.

1. Network Regularly

Networking is one of the most effective ways to build relationships and gain access to potential employers. If you don't already network regularly, consider joining professional organizations or attending industry conferences.

You might even want to volunteer your skills and experience to someone else.

2. Update your Resume

Your resume needs to be updated every few years to reflect current trends in the workplace. Make sure you include relevant work experiences and accomplishments. Also, keep your resume concise and avoid including too much information about yourself.

3. Further your Education

Take advantage of online degree programs and workshops local colleges and universities offer. These classes can teach you new skills and significantly improve your future chances.

Examples of Career Advancement

Career advancement isn’t always easy. It takes time and effort on your part to get noticed and recognized for your hard work. However, if you put in the necessary time and energy, you'll eventually reach your goal.

Here are examples of how professionals have achieved career advancement:

  • A former employee was promoted from entry-level sales representative to account manager
  • An engineer was promoted from project manager to senior project manager
  • A marketing director was promoted from assistant to vice president
  • A nurse was promoted from nursing assistant to registered nurse
  • A doctor was promoted from intern to resident physician

There are many more examples of career advancement, including a promotion to a management positiondeveloping new skills, and increased job satisfaction from working on challenging projects that are important to you.


Career advancement is not just about the salary increase. Career advancement opportunities also come with increased responsibility and authority, which means that when you work your way up the ladder, you'll gain experience and skills that help you move forward.

Take charge of your development to reach career success. By doing so, you'll be able to identify opportunities for personal growth and explore different career advancement paths.

Career Advancement FAQ

Can a mentor influence career advancement?

Yes, mentoring can influence your career. Mentors are talented professionals who aim to help you reach your professional goals. According to Olivet's research, while 76% of people believe mentors are essential, only 37% have one. However, the same study shows that those who have mentors are more satisfied with their current jobs.

What is the difference between career advancement and career development?

Career development and advancement are two sides of the same coin, as they both involve progressing in professional life. However, some might say they are two separate things, with career development more about personal growth and career advancement more about moving up in a company or organization.

How do you talk about career growth?

Start by saying that you're interested in learning more about employee career development within the company. You could also ask your superiors what they think would be the best way for you to grow your skills and knowledge. If your superior has any suggestions for a career advancement program that would be a good fit for you, be sure to mention that you're interested in hearing more about them.

What is job career management and career planning?

Job career management is the process of managing your career by creating a plan and taking action to achieve your goals. This includes setting career goals, developing the skills and experience you need, and networking with others.

More from Joana Ferreira

I am a content writer who loves to write about tech and educational niches. With four years of experience in the industry, I have a knack for delivering high-quality content that resonates with my audience.

Career Success Partner