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Barriers to career progression

We're getting ready to launch our biggest survey of the year to understand what matters most across the people profession. Here's a teaser question for you...

What has been the single largest barrier to advancing in your career?

Chainlink fence

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  • Want honesty? Not brown nosing certain people.
  • structure changes, lack of vacancies as a result.
  • Opportunities within a reasonable commute of my home that would allow me to balance work and family responsibilities.
  • Geography. Deciding that I would work only within a fixed travel distance from my rural Gloucestershire home has dramatically reduced the number of roles available as I've worked my way up the ladder. If I were prepared to travel even as far as the mean streets of Bristol, Swindon or south Birmingham (all about an hour away) I would have a much greater range of options. But I recognize that this is a self-imposed barrier and I'm comfortable with that.
  • Just to be a "contrarian" - choice !

    At several points in my career I have been simultaneously headhunted by up to 4 consultancies for particularly interesting jobs. On one occasion, by the time I'd interviewed for them all, 2 were gone !

  • Having to 'move out to move up'. Internal promotion opportunities have been few and far between so I've always had to change organisations to get on the next rung of the ladder.
  • For me, I think it was having a varied career history rather than continually specialising in one kind of role. It seemed to get in the way when I was starting out.
  • Ill health during those early formative years of my career post-graduation. Whilst I was in and out of hospital for 2 years, most people in my peer group jumped ahead and I've never really caught them up. That said, the women in that group are now all stepping out of their careers to have babies, so I'm not really all that far behind anymore.

    The other thing has been a refusal to permanently work in London. I've worked for many large organisations all with central London offices, but I've always been based in regional offices - this has certainly limited my opportunities than if I'd been prepared to take roles in HQ, but I have no intention of ever living in London or the South East.

    Ultimately. I'm happy with where I've ended up so far and there's plenty of time left to progress further.
  • I've faced different barriers at different times - the current one is choice combined with availability of part time work - I choose to work 3 days per week, within easy commuting distance of my home. This significantly limits my choice of roles
  • Similar to the others - availability of roles without a massive commute and wanting only to work for industries I considered to be at least broadly ethical. I don't like driving and have a preference for greener travel, so have always been restricted to roles I could get to by public transport and didn't involve a lot of driving to different sites (always happy to do it other means though). Whilst it has restricted the number of roles, it has meant I've been 'forced' to look at different sectors, which in fact has lead to a broader career than I might have had otherwise!
  • Work/home life balance - my choice to decide I wanted to work in a particular location and not have a long commute a few years ago limited the choice of roles available in that geographical area. Also sometimes the areas of HR I have in depth experience of and interest in has limited roles that were available.
  • Limited availability of roles to apply for if wanting to advance my career with another company. Like others, not wanting to travel an hour or more. Limited scope within a company to progress.
  • I struggled getting onto the HR ladder as very few companies wanted to hire me as I started off as an accountant. Often the feed back was 'not enough experience' despite applying for trainee and junior roles!
    I also had to find a company willing to sponsor me through exams due to the costs.
  • In reply to Maisie:

    That sounds really frustrating, Maisie. Did they not recognise the transferable skills?