Demotions have become increasingly common at the office, with nearly half of all human resources managers reporting that they have seen someone at their company moved to a lesser position, according to two new surveys from OfficeTeam, a Robert Half company.

About 47 percent of HR managers said an employee had been demoted at their company, the staffing service company found.

Reasons why this happen vary. According to the survey, 39 percent of respondents cited poor performance, and 38 percent blamed not succeeding in a job after being promoted. Another 16 percent attributed the action to an organizational restructuring or the position being eliminated, and 6 percent said the demotion was voluntary.

“A demotion may happen for a variety of reasons, including performance issues, organizational changes and an employee requesting fewer responsibilities due to personal or career priorities,” Brandi Britton, a district president for OfficeTeam, said in prepared remarks. “It’s never easy to accept a lower role, but workers can show their professionalism and bounce back by keeping their emotions in check, understanding the root cause and performing at a high level to position themselves for future advancement.”

If an employee/executive is demoted, OfficeTeam recommends that the individual remains calm and tries to understand why the downgrade happened. A demoted employee can also do well to seek detailed information about the new job, areas for improvement and training, and whether the demotion can be reversed over time. It is also important to weigh all options and decide whether to make the most of the new, lesser position or look for something else, the firm said.

Other survey findings:

  • 19 percent of male professionals were demoted versus 7 percent of women.
  • 22 percent of HR respondents said employees ages 18-34 were downgraded in their positions compared to those ages 35-54 (10 percent) and 55 or older (3 percent).
  • More than 1 in 10 workers (14 percent) have been demoted.
  • Of those that were demoted, 52 percent quit, but half tried to handle the news as gracefully as possible.
  • 47 percent said they became upset and lost interest in work.
  • 41 percent focused on excelling in the new job.

OfficeTeam developed the survey, which was conducted by an independent research firm. More than 300 HR managers responded to the survey, representing U.S. companies with 20 or more employees and over 1,000 U.S. workers ages 18 or older working in office situations.

Source: OfficeTeam, Robert Half

Topics Trends