How to Structure Employee Promotion and Advancement

March 1, 2020
Younger workers are 4 times more likely than baby boomers to expect hard job advancements such as promotions and pay raises every year, according to a new survey report by […]

Younger workers are 4 times more likely than baby boomers to expect hard job advancements such as promotions and pay raises every year, according to a new survey report by Clutch, the leading B2B ratings and reviews firm. We surveyed 505 full-time employees in the US to learn their opinions about and experiences with advancing at work.

For younger workers, regularly advancing at work is especially important due to:

The changing job market: Compared to baby boomers, millennials and many Generation X workers have built their careers through freelancing, earning certifications, and pursuing specialized work, rather than staying with a single employer for the duration of their career. Younger employees need to demonstrate their growth in order to remain competitive.

The rise of startup culture: Adrienne Cooper, chief people officer at, says that when early and mid-career workers think about advancement, “fair equals fast.” Startups often grow rapidly and expect employees to growth with them. Workers in their 20s, 30s, and 40s are more accustomed than baby boomers to employees being promoted to match the demands of an expanding company.

Pressure on companies to demonstrate a commitment to “fairness”: Gen X, millennial, and Gen Z workers are more likely to place importance in working for a diverse, non-discriminatory business. Employees judge their company’s commitment to fairness based on its advancement policies.

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Experts say younger employees are less likely to demonstrate long-term loyalty to their employer if they do not have a clear understanding of what it takes to advance at their job.

Businesses should set transparent expectations about what employees need to do to receive more responsibility, higher pay, and a more senior title. With an effective advancement structure in place, companies will improve employee performance and loyalty.

Young Workers Least Likely to Believe That All Employees Have a Fair Chance to Advance

Despite expecting employees to advance regularly, fewer than 1 in 5 workers between 18 and 34 (17%) believe that all of their company’s employees have a fair chance to advance.

Tim Toterhi, a chief human resources officer and the author of The HR Guide to Getting and Crushing Your Dream Job, says companies can reduce the concerns of their youngest employees by:

• Making clear the expected pace of employee advancement, both in soft advancements such as earning new responsibilities and hard advancements such as pay raises.

• Understanding each employee’s career expectations: How often do they expect to be promoted?

• Using a pay-for-performance model that provides employees metrics to meet in order to advance.

The 2019 Job Advancement Survey included 505 full-time employees across the US. Read the full report at For questions about the survey, a comment on the findings, or an introduction to the industry experts included in the report, contact Seamus Roddy at [email protected].

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About Clutch: Clutch is a ratings and reviews platform for IT, marketing, and business service providers. Each month, over half a million buyers and sellers of services use the Clutch platform, and the user base is growing over 50% a year. Clutch has been recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the 500 fastest growing companies in the U.S. and has been listed as a top 50 startup by LinkedIn.

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