Six-Year Career Crossroads for Middle Managers

MRINetwork, one of the world's largest search and recruitment organizations, commissioned a study with Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) to explore the career paths of today's professional workforce. The study is based on 200 telephone interviews with Human Resource directors or senior executives in the United States and 200 interviews with Human Resource directors or senior executives in the United Kingdom.

According to those surveyed, by the sixth year in the middle-management level, most companies in the U.S. have already decided whether a middle manager has senior-level potential or has become a "career" middle manager. In the U.K., however, the timeframe is even more accelerated, as the study revealed that most middle managers have only four years to advance to the senior level. The study, also determined that "career" middle managers are seen as critical to the success of the company.

As a result of the study's findings, MRINetwork has determined that middle managers who aspire to senior positions must carefully evaluate their career choices at the six year mark, including the possibility of moving on to a new company or positioning themselves more aggressively as a senior manager within their own company.

Additionally as the study found that the majority of surveyed companies promote to the senior level from within, companies hiring middle managers are advised to fully evaluate each candidate's potential for eventually ascending to the senior level. These candidates represent the heart of the organization and its future senior leadership. Hiring managers must look beyond the immediate needs of the business and requirements of the open position to determine if each individual is a worthy, long-term senior management prospect.

Following are some of the study's highlights:

  • According to the executives polled, companies in the U.S. and the U.K. tend to have people in junior positions for about 5 years, middle management positions about 7 years and senior management positions about 8.5 years. However, those polled feel that it is acceptable to move on to another job after only 3 years in junior, 4 years in mid level and 5 years in senior positions. As an employee moves on in his or her career, frequent job changes become less tolerated, therefore middle and senior managers must be more analytical in regards to their career choices.

Average Number of Years in Management Positions

When Is It Okay for Junior Candidates to Move On?

When Is It Okay for Mid level Candidates to Move On?

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