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Asked by Kelcie on June 1, 2018

Which is generally the fastest way up the corporate ladder: working for one company for a long time, or transferring between many different firms? I keep seeing friends transfer into higher up positions at outside firms and they all tell me it is quicker to transfer than to slog through the promotional process at my own company. What do you think?

Answered by Tom, Hiring Expert at VF Corporation, on June 1, 2018

Generally, I would say you will progress faster by transferring between many different firms.  Many employers have not yet figured out how to best move and promote talent internally, despite their best intentions.  Of course, there are exceptions and they will often be companies highly ranked on "best companies to work for" lists.

Also, now is a great time to explore other companies and opportunities because of such a robust job market.  Unemployment is historically low in many places and qualified talent is scarce across many jobs/industries.  As such, there is a lot to choose from and risk is low.  If it doesn't work out, their be another job available soon.  This lends itself to the faster promotions you suggest.  If the job market turns/economy falters, it is often better to stay with your current company.

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Answered by Sara, Hiring Expert at Textron Inc., on July 11, 2018

In my experience, I have seen many very successful people spend a long career at one company and those that have found success moving around. As someone starting your career, it is difficult to know what the best path is for you. There are pros and cons for both staying with the same company and for changing companies frequently and it will often depend on the employer you work for and your career goals. When considering an opportunity at a new company you should first determine why you are looking for the next move - are you bored, don't like your boss, see some of your friends moving to bigger roles? If you are happy with your current role or company and simply feel it is time to do more, talk to your manager or Human Resources Business Partner - they may not realize you want something new and will likely help you find an opportunity or special project to continue your development.

When deciding on what direction to go, consider how a move fits in with your long-term goals such as an early retirement, working in a certain industry or type of role, or more opportunities to give back to your community. What will you gain or lose if you make a change - benefits such as a 401k matching, student loan assistance, tuition re-imbursement, flexible work arrangements, work in a cutting-edge company. If you have determined it is time for a change and that your current company cannot provide you the career path you are desire, do your research on the companies you want to apply to, ensuring they will offer you what you are looking for as well as what current and former employees saying about their experience and opportunities, especially the opportunity for development.

In the end, each of us is different and only you can determine the right path for your career.

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