Ask HR: Am I missing out on promotions due to lack of a degree?

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What you need to know:

  • Since every good manager would like to keep a productive worker, and your boss has confirmed you are one, there could be other reasons for lack of a promotion besides your academic qualifications.
  • Perhaps your employer has more talent than career growth opportunities.


  • One simple way to confirm your suspicions is to check the requirements for the positions you aspire to move to.

I have been at my current role for four years and getting anxious since I have not been promoted yet I am a top performer. My boss keeps saying I am a key talent, but this has not resulted in any career growth. Although I have been receiving good salary increases, my goal is to have more responsibilities. My manager has not mentioned this, but I suspect I may have been bypassed because I do not have a degree. Could this be the case? How should I raise this?

Every job requires technical or professional skills, behavioral competencies and experience. These skills and competencies are complimented by academic qualifications, be it an undergraduate degree, post-graduate or diploma certificate. Most employers are keen to bring onboard staff who meet the requirements for the role, and you must have met the threshold.

Since every good manager would like to keep a productive worker, and your boss has confirmed you are one, there could be other reasons for lack of a promotion besides your academic qualifications. Perhaps your employer has more talent than career growth opportunities. One simple way to confirm your suspicions is to check the requirements for the positions you aspire to move to. Evaluate whether your skills, competencies and experience compensate for lack of a degree. You could also check the trend of those being appointed to higher roles. Do they possess higher academic qualifications than yourself? What about your peers in the industry? If there is evidence to confirm your level of education could be slowing down your career growth, you should raise this up with your boss. 

The best way is to request for a meeting to discuss your career growth, or during your regular performance review sessions. You could say “Thank you for your feedback. I appreciate your support and guidance. I have been in my role for four years, and I feel well prepared for the next challenge, and would like to know what my chances are for a promotion?’’ Unless he raises the issue of academics as a concern, do not go there. But in case he does, find out why this is important, and what support the employer could offer.

We cannot downplay the importance of education as a key requirement for job performance. In fact, the higher the role, the greater the demand for higher academic qualifications. There are many options of pursuing further education, be it evening classes, online courses or weekend classes. Investing in your self will always pay off. Your suspicions could be your wakeup call.

MillennialHR                                                                                                                           [email protected]
 

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