The Meaning of Work Report



We wanted to understand workers’ views of job progression in today’s labour market, when commentators are suggesting employees are much less likely to join one organisation and stay for their entire career than they might have been in the past.

We have written before about some of the benefits of hiring job hoppers, and for many under-35s there is less of a stigma around moving up the career and salary ladder quickly by moving jobs often. It’s notable, however, that a third (32%) of workers surveyed had worked with their employer for ten years or more.

A similar number (34%) felt that the main barrier to them progressing was a lack of opportunities to do so, suggesting that employers may have more to do to create a clear pathway for progression for many of their employees.

The main barrier to progress was a lack of opportunities

The power of money over other workplace factors was also borne out when we asked workers about the relative merits of pay and progression: 67% said that a pay rise was more important to them than a promotion, and only 14% ranked opportunities for promotion as important in their current role.

For younger workers, greater importance is attached to moving up the ranks compared to older workers, with 31% of 18-24 year olds selecting promotion opportunities as one of their top concerns. However, it’s important to consider that this age group still rank this aspect of work below factors such as pay, work/life balance, colleagues and job security.


The Indeed View

People say that a pay rise is much more important than a promotion. But progression often goes hand in hand with a pay rise. People who switch jobs and/or employers get a bigger raise, on average, than people who stay in the same job from one year to the next, according to analysis by the Bank of England.

For employers, if opportunities to reward your employees with a promotion are not feasible, you should remember that, for many, pay is the answer.