Most Promotions Occur In January, LinkedIn Study Shows

January 26, 2011

woman shaking hands during promotionA new study released by the professional networking website LinkedIn revealed that the greatest percentage of promotions at companies occurs in January.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the study found that 16 percent of promotions since 2000 took place in January, more than any other month. June and July were the next most popular months.

LinkedIn analyzed user profiles, which include employment history, to find out when people were promoted by the same employer. Krista Canfield, a LinkedIn spokeswoman, said that the promotion peaks seen in the beginning and middle of the year can be partially explained by the fiscal calendar.

Though January ranked the highest in promotions, its position is slipping. During the 1990s, 22 percent of promotions happened in January compared to 16 percent in the past decade.

Experts say the shift has come from younger workers. In January, 14 percent of promotions came from employees born in the 1980s compared to 22 percent of promotions from those born in the 1950s.

Interestingly, employees born in the 1980s tend to be more aggressive in requesting raises and promotions than their older counterparts, according to Clark University professor Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, author of "Emerging Adulthood."

"They speak up about what they want and don't want to wait for a boss to notice they're doing a good job," he said.

According to Tom McMullen, a human resources consultant at Hay Group, most large companies set time frames when managers can promote employees, either every quarter or at the beginning of the fiscal year. Employees who want to move up should talk to their managers about a promotion a couple months ahead of time, he said.

"Waiting until the annual performance review means you've lost an opportunity," he said.

In addition, the time of promotions varied by industry. A press release reported that the accounting, defense and space, education management, higher education, military and research industries all tended to see a spike in promotions over the summer months more so than others.

The months when employees were promoted depended on geographic location as well, a LinkedIn blog post noted. While January was the top month for promotions in the US, the spread through the year was more uniform than the global average, meaning that workers who miss January still have a chance of rising in the ranks. In other countries, promotions tended to follow breaks for vacation and the beginning of a fiscal year, as is the case for France and India.

Compiled by CityTownInfo.com Staff


"Level Up! How Millennials are Changing the Promotion Game," blog.linkedin.com, January 26, 2011, Monica Rogati

"LinkedIn data reveals the best months of the year for professionals in the United States to get a promotion," press.linkedin.com, January 26, 2011

"Most Promotions Take Place in January, Study Finds," online.wsj.com, January 26, 2011, Joe Light

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