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Why you haven't been promoted - and how to fix it

It seems as if you’ve done everything you can to take that next elusive step up the career ladder; you’ve been putting in the effort and doing good work (or so you thought) but it still hasn’t resulted in a promotion. If this sounds familiar, there may in fact be a few roadblocks standing in your way that you haven’t yet considered – and we have the perfect detour around them all.

You're not a problem solver

People in management positions have to be problem solvers. If you’re constantly bringing issues to the attention of your boss without first considering how the problem could be fixed it demonstrates that you may not be ready to tackle the constant problem solving that fills a manager’s day. If you’re wondering how to get a promotion, try thinking like a leader; this means being proactive in finding a solution, not merely relying on your boss to fix it.

Man presenting to colleagues

You lack the necessary skills

Your performance in your current role isn’t the only determining factor in whether you get promoted or not. Stepping up usually requires a new set of skills you may not currently have. To troubleshoot this, consider undertaking further study to fill the gap in your current skill set. Gaining a new set of qualifications shows you’re committed to your own career progression and will impress the powers that be.

You don't act like a leader

Not getting a promotion can sometimes come down to the way you carry yourself on the job. If you’re lacking skills such as conflict resolution, strategic thinking and effective communication - all skills necessary for a management role - it could mean you’re overlooked as a potential leader. This is why it’s important to demonstrate that you’ve got strong leadership skills, in addition to strong technical skills. You could do this by volunteering to head up a project, mentoring junior employees or solving a longstanding issue.

You don't action feedback

According to a recent SEEK study, 44 per cent of Australians participate in some form of performance review with 58 per cent saying that it helped to highlight the areas they needed to focus on in order to develop. Regardless of whether you receive feedback formally or informally, if you're not actioning this feedback and taking responsibility for your own performance and growth, then you could be sabotaging your chances of getting promoted.

Your workplace's structure

Sometimes, there may not actually be another step on the career ladder for you to climb. If your organisation has a flat structure with zero or minimal levels of middle management it could make it difficult for you to move up. This is where you could consider making a lateral move. Stepping into another department within your company could be a clever career transition in that it will help you to learn some new skills, expand your network and give yourself a new challenge on the job, all of which could help in securing a promotion in the future.

When it comes to career progression, sometimes the big move into management can take time - so don't be disheartened! Keep persevering, action these tips on the job and you'll be well on your way to toasting your promotion in no time.

Source: Independent research conducted by Survey Sampling International (SSI) on behalf of SEEK, March 2016. Interviewing 4800 Australians annually with data being weighted to be nationally representative of age, gender, location, employment status and income (based on ABS).