Recently there was some interesting research published from McKinsey based on workers in Germany, India, US and UK which points to the value of moving organisations, and moving relatively often if you want to gain the most in earnings.

The authors claim that such moves are even more important for those workers who begin their careers in relatively low-paid roles that require fewer credentials.

Interestingly, more than 80% of the job moves that people made were outside their organisation, indicating that organisations may not have well-developed ‘internal advancement tracks’ that identify potential and develop it.

Some years ago, when comparing the promotion rates across gender, the research backed up this finding – showing that it was certainly beneficial for those women who wanted to reach more senior positions to go to new organisations.

Their rates of promotion were greater than those who stayed, even when they had the same level of ambition.

However, what I find most interesting about this research is the size of shift in skills required at different organisational levels, and which you can see in the image below.


McKinsey diagram of skills individuals drop and gain through job changes

When people do move to new organisations their job is most likely to include a set of new skills not required in their previous one.

And some skills ‘go latent’.


One of the things that prevents people making moves, and being successful quickly in new moves, is the ability to discard skills, to make room for the new ones.

A tendency to micromanage and avoid delegation keeps some people stuck working at a level below what they should.

Perhaps what really distinguishes those who move is, yes, a thirst for novelty and advancement, but also a very pragmatic ability to cast off the old and step into the new.



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