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40% of Employees Won’t Ask for a Raise or Promotion — Here’s Why

Benjamin Brandall
November 10, 2015

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While 82% of employees want to discuss their career prospects with their managers at least 1-4 time per year, a shocking 40% never do.

A recent study from Robert Half revealed a disconnect between managers and their employees on one of the most wanted aspects of any job. So important, in fact, that 32% of more than 11,000 employees surveyed by LinkedIn cited ‘Strong career path’ as the number one thing they look for.

Discussing career progression is important for employees because:

  • Employees know where they stand
  • They know if they have a shot at promotion
  • They know whether to start looking for another job
  • It’s clear what they need to do to get the promotion or pay raise they want

For managers, it makes even more business sense.

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Do you need to get an MBA? My dad didn’t, and neither do you

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College education has been called the largest scam in US history. The cost of one year of college tuition in the US has risen by 160% in the last 10 years and looks set to increase 5% year on year.

Despite the huge price hikes, doesn’t having a college education make you a vastly more attractive candidate?

Not really.

A 2014 survey of nearly 3,000 job seekers and HR professionals found that 64% of hiring managers said they would “consider a candidate who hadn’t gone to a day of college”. In fact, business jobs like sales manager and operations manager don’t need a degree at all, despite paying an average salary of over $90,000.

Experience is more important than education

While degrees do still matter to 46% of hiring managers, one of the most important factors when choosing a candidate is experience. A few decades back when the corporate structure might have been a little more loose, executive positions were widely available to low-level employees.

My dad started out working in the factory for a coffee corporation in the early 1980s. Over the years, he climbed the ranks towards becoming the top salesman in the region up to what would now be called the customer success manager.

Did he have a college degree? No, actually. He left school at 16, joined the Air Force and lived in Cyprus throughout the 1970s. This example is probably a case of being in the right place at the right time, and nowadays it’s rare to be promoted from the factory to the golf course with clients, especially in a big company. However, the same thing can happen now, just not in the corporate space…

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6 Reasons You Can’t Get a Job at a Startup

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Why are inexperienced post-grads getting hired left and right while you’re left short of your dream startup job?

The thing to remember about startups is that unlike enterprises, every action has major consequences. Hiring a new salesperson for a startup might mean doubling the team size, whereas it probably means adding salesperson #1001 to the roster for enterprises.

Finding a job at a startup means you need some qualities that you weren’t taught at school.

I talked to Vinay Patankar to find out what he’s learned from his years as an executive recruiter and Process Street CEO.

You’re a bad culture fit

If you’ve ever seen HubSpot’s Chair Dance or any of the numerous silly things they do, you’ll be able to decide whether HubSpot seems to be a good culture fit for you. HubSpot creates this content to deliberately screen out unsuitable candidates: super-serious people need not apply.

With startups being small by design, the person in charge of hiring needs to be sure you’re going to get on well with everyone and contribute in a positive way to company culture.

If you clash with the rest of team you won’t be considered because not only will you create a bad atmosphere, you’re likely to leave sooner after a huge amount of time and energy has been spent on training and onboarding. If this seems likely, whoever’s in charge of hiring will decide you can’t get a job at their startup.

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