Career Plateau definition

Career plateaus are acute points in a person’s career path where progression seems difficult or obstacle-ridden, due to both internal reasons and external reasons.

External reasons for reaching a career plateau can include reaching a specific level of seniority at your company – the further up the career ladder you go the fewer positions are available above you. In smaller companies, senior management may have been in place for a long time with little chance of turnover.

Internal reasons for career plateaus may be a lack of confidence due to a life event or over-confidence in your skills or abilities. Some people no longer feel challenged or excited by their work which can be seen by bosses as a lack of motivation. Development training can help individuals overcome these.

How you address a career plateau depends on the root cause. If the level of seniority is the problem, you may have to extend the geographical reach of your job search, or alternatively look to move to a similar-level position in a different company that has greater career opportunities.

However, it’s important to note that career plateaus are not always bad things – often they are positive developments for very career-minded individuals who take time out from climbing the career ladder to enjoy a stable level of income, stress and responsibility, perhaps so they can focus on other areas of their life.


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