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Middle Managers Four-Year Promotion Timescale


By the fourth year in the middle-management layer, most UK companies have decided whether a manager has senior-level potential or should remain on the central rungs of the career ladder, according to a new study.

Management Recruiters International, Inc. (MRI) interviewed 200 HR directors or senior executives in the UK and 200 HR directors or senior executives in the US.

It found that, on average, a UK middle manager remains in his or her current position for 4.7 years before being promoted to senior management. In the US, middle managers will spend an average of 6.3 years at that level before being promoted.

In both countries, if these employees do not make the jump to senior management within those timeframes, most surveyed companies said they would be considered “career” middle managers.

However, the poll also showed survey respondents judged career middle managers as critical to the success of the company.

According to MRI, the accelerated timeframe for advancement in the UK is partly due to the fact that middle manager candidates here are more likely to inquire about the potential for career growth during the interview process than their counterparts in the States. On average, 58% of UK candidates will ask about opportunities for advancement, while only 41% of US candidates will do the same.

“Middle managers who have aspirations to become a part of senior management within their own organisation can now be cognisant of how much time they have to reach that goal,” said Steve Mills, Senior Vice President of Operations for MRI Worldwide. “Given this shorter time period, it is critical that these middle managers accelerate their career progression by investigating the available opportunities at their company and positioning themselves as potential senior managers more aggressively.”

Respondents in both countries said that when filling senior-level positions within their company, the majority would prefer to promote from within. Specifically, only 11% of UK respondents and 23% of US said they would consider a candidate from outside the company to be more attractive than one from within.

* Opinion Research Corporation conducted telephone interviews with 200 HR directors or senior executives in the U.K. and 200 in the U.S. The interviews took place in the U.K between July 14 and August 12, 2005 and in the U.S. between July 14 and August 5, 2005.


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