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How to Determine if You Should be Promoted

94% of people said they wanted more responsibility at work, and 47% cited lack of responsibility growth in their position as a reason to begin looking for a new job. These are results from the Apex Market Research Team’s fall 2017 study in the Japanese Healthcare industry.
This information is especially important today as the Japanese job market faces higher employee turnover than ever before, and experienced professionals hold the power in the thinning workforce. For employees who are ready to be promoted from their current position, it means that if their company isn’t able or willing to offer them a promotion, another might.


Here are some of the questions a professional should ask themselves, when considering whether or not they are ready for a promotion:

  • Do I want to grow my skills, or just my salary? :If getting a bigger salary is the only reason (rather than growing their career), sometimes a lateral move can be easier and more effective in achieving this goal than a promotion.

  • Am I already performing at the next level? :According to our job satisfaction survey, 51% of healthcare professionals agree that achievement is a top promotion criteria at their company. It was the leading promotion criteria, followed by qualifications at 15%. Achievement is one of the main criteria for promotion, so in order to qualify for a promotion, performance is critical. If you are already performing above expectations, then you may be a good candidate for promotion.

  • Am I willing to put in the work, and take the feedback? : Promotions can come with a variety of change. Sometimes it only includes a higher title, while sometimes a promotion can mean starting to manage people, or lead large projects. Someone looking to be promoted needs to consider if they are willing to put in the work to learn new skills, and be open to hearing constructive feedback in their new position.

When considering if it is time to be promoted, professionals should ask themselves some of the key questions listed above to see if they are actually ready for the next step. If they are ready, they should then consider the structure and circumstance of their company. Is there room for people to be promoted? If there is no room for growth in their current company but the employee is ready to move up, it may be time to look elsewhere. If a growth ceiling is reached, it may be time to look at opportunities in other companies.


In our recent study, we found that 51% of respondents rated Achievement and Merit as the top promotion criteria within their company. The next closest rated criterion were qualifications (15%), time spent in company (11%), and internal recommendations (11%).

It may be surprising to some that time spent in company didn’t score higher in the Japanese job market. For domestic Japanese companies, it was the second highest rated criteria at 22% where as for multinational companies operating in Japan it was only 3%. Japanese companies are of course known for lifetime employment and to a certain extent it is valued in promotion criteria. These results, however, show how the job market has been shifting in Japan, at least for the healthcare sector, and how different aspects of someone’s career (such as achievement) can be very important when it comes to promotions.

Understanding your company's promotion criteria will put you in the best position for determining your next career step. To better take control of your career you can partner with a recruitment consultant who can help advise on what is a good career step based on their knowledge of the market.


  • Make sure you are ready for the challenge that comes with the promotion before you apply to one

  • If you think you are ready for promotion, make sure you understand your company’s promotion criteria and if it is an achievable goal

  • When applying to a new company, consult a professional who is able to match you with a company that is the best fit for your future career progression

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