Sharon Reid


Did you know that 2015 is the ‘year of the career?’ The Open University has released a guide crammed full of practical advice to help us make the most of our careers. The Open University also commissioned a survey to coincide with their guide, the survey reveals the startling disparity between what employees think will earn them a pay rise and promotion and what employers look for.

What Employees & Employers Think Will Lead to Promotion/Pay Rise

Employees are convinced that meeting deadlines/targets and working longer hours rank amongst the top three reasons for achieving that pay rise and promotion. Unfortunately this did not match among employer’s top three reasons, who rated the gaining of additional education, work –related training courses and achieving work –related knowledge via the enrolment of free online courses or by reading relevant books/articles.

Surprisingly winning new business was not considered a big enough reason for employers to award that elusive promotion and pay rise. So, if contributing to your company’s growth through the winning of new business is not enough to secure that well deserved promotion, what is an employee to do? I posed this question to Keith Zimmerman, Director, Students at The Open University and he reinforced the importance of additional education:

Keith Zimmerman - The Open University

Keith Zimmerman – The Open University

“What was interesting about the findings of our survey is that employers were much more likely to cite additional education when it comes to offering pay rises and promotions. Perhaps surprisingly, being first in the door and last to leave is not the way to go. It all comes down to working smarter – without necessarily working harder – and many people don’t realise that earning a part-time qualification can have an almost instant impact on their career prospects. This is because the skills and knowledge you acquire can help you work more efficiently, while the dedication needed to study part-time is something employers are likely to notice and be impressed by.

“There are of course other steps you can take to further your career. These can be as simple as recognising and being able to articulate your strengths, building the right kind of social media presence, or spending time building up your network – something that everyone, no matter their position or background, can do.”

The solution – make the most of your scheduled working hours to utilise your time effectively – if you find yourself constantly at work after hours you may have to take a serious look at how you plan your day. Instead use your work –free time more constructively by obtaining extra skills/education, by investing in yourself you are more likely to gain that promotion.

For more advice and top tips on fast-tracking your career download this free guide from