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Half of HR Managers Have Witnessed Demotions at Their Organization


The working climate is consumed with talk of pay raises and promotions, but there is a nasty alternative to those that doesn’t involve a firing.

Demotions are a fairly common occurrence, according to research from OfficeTeam, which revealed nearly half of HR managers (46%) have seen someone at their company moved down a rung on the ladder. Professionals were most commonly demoted for poor performance (39%) and not succeeding in a new job after being promoted (38%).

A separate survey found that about one in seven workers (14%) have been told to take on a lower role. In terms of gender, 19% of male professionals were demoted versus 7% of women. Employees ages 18 to 34 (22%) were downgraded positions more often than those ages 35 to 54 (10%) and 55 or older (3%).

Additional findings:

  • HR managers at companies in two size categories — 500 to 999 and 1,000 or more employees — were most likely to have seen a worker demoted (77% and 91%, respectively).
  • Of the 50% of employees who took the news hard, 52% quit, and 47% got upset and lost interest in their jobs.
  • Male employees (55%) and those ages 18 to 34 (64%) most often resigned in response to being demoted.

“A demotion may happen for a variety of reasons, including performance issues, organizational changes, and an employee requesting fewer responsibilities due to personal or career priorities," said Brandi Britton, a district president for OfficeTeam. “It's never easy to accept a lower role, but workers can show their professionalism and bounce back by keeping their emotions in check, understanding the root cause and performing at a high level to position themselves for future advancement.”

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