Officially or non-unofficially, is it both easier for and do most people land promotions internally as opposed to being an external candidate, or around 50/50?

I have worked in a variety of different organisations during my career to date and several had the policy that they did not actually train people up, develop or promote from within. So if you wanted to reach the next level, you would actually have to first leave them, join a similar organisation in the sector in the target position that you desired, clock up some 2-5 years experience there and then wait for a vacancy to be posted online, hoping to rejoin them. Many did not hire ex employees either, even if you left under favourable circumstances or with a glowing reference. 

However, can it be a motivational problem for staff if an employer just promotes and brings in new people over their heads, who have not either joined or grown with the company altogether at the same time, or first proven themselves overtime by working themselves up the various ranks? 

If you are however an internal candidate, although many employers say that the overall recruitment and selection process is made exactly the same, impartial and transparent,  is the reality however that internals are always at a certain advantage as they already know you, your working style and performance, and however well an external candidate comes across, they are still an unknown quantity?

Some employers have already earmarked a promotion to go internally but still go through the unnecessary time and expense of a full recruitment campaign even when they legally do not have to, to see if they can fish in all pools and catch some last minute exceptional talent before the role is offered to the insider. 

  • Again Andre, not a binary situation of either/or. Rightly or wrongly both realities exist.

    In some businesses with low margins, high staff turnover, short lead-times for staff to be effective, and a ready availabilty of low-cost staff it could well be that the "recruit every time" approach can be cost effective.

    In a knowledge-based company the need to retain and develop staff is at the economic heart of the business model.

    Therefore, as in many HR areas, the answer is 'it depends" and "context is king"

  • In reply to Ray:

    Just to add to Rays advice. In my career I have been promoted internally roughly the same number of times as I have achieved a promotion externally so on a sample of 1 I would say it’s 50/50.

    I am surprised at the attitude of the organisations you work for. I have never come across it. Perhaps it’s one for your thread tonight on the public sector and why people struggle.
  • In regards to your observations regarding internal/external recruitment I agree with your comments made in the last two paragraphs.

    However my experience regarding your comments about company policies of not training people up or refusing to re-hire leavers. MMmmmmm? Not sure I've seen or heard of that one before The former makes no sense at all, for reasons you mention, let alone cost and the implications of a key job holder suddenly leaving with the legacy of a gap which is going to be hard to fill. (Succession planning!)

    As for not re-employing ex staff. I've only come across that in terms of individuals who were disliked and/or committed disciplinary offences. Both reasons for perhaps not re-employing people.

    Incidently, Andre, I once worked as a Scaffolder. My company sent me off on a week's residential course to become an 'Advanced Scaffolder', and a an Occupational Health & Safety course. They wanted me to become a Forman perhaps?. In a later job I was responsible for young adult's personal development - Originally a class room based job I widened the scope and my employers spent a great deal of money on summer mountainering courses, BMC Mountain leader assessment, I also became a qualified trainer in Kayaking & Canadian canoeing. They also paid for an advanced mountaineering 1st aid certificate - at many hundreds of pounds cost!!, to name just a few.

    In my general experience Andre if a company feels you belong, that you pull your weight and you are keen to learn then they'll support you with training - providing of course its relevant. "Advanced Cake Icing", probably won't go down too well if you're a scaffolder - ;-)