People generally like to talk about promotions, not so much about demotions. So, how common are demotions at work? According to new research from OfficeTeam, nearly half of HR managers (46%) have seen someone at their company moved down a rung on the career ladder.

Common reasons for demotion include poor performance (39%), not succeeding in a new job after being promoted (38%), and organisational restructuring (16%).

By company size, HR managers at companies with 500 to 999 and 1,000 or more employees were most likely to have seen a worker demoted (77% and 91% , respectively).


A separate survey found that 14% of workers have been asked to take on a lower role.

In terms of gender, 19% of male professionals were demoted versus 7% of women. Employees ages 18 to 34 (22%) were downgraded positions more often than those ages 35 to 54 (10%) and 55 or older (3%).


While half (50%) of professionals who were downgraded positions tried to handle the news as gracefully as possible, 52% quit, and 47% got upset and lost interest in their jobs.

By gender, male employees (55%) were more likely to quit than female employees (40%). According to age group, those ages 18 to 34 (64%) most often resigned in response to being demoted, followed by those aged 35 to 54. Interestingly, none of those aged 55 and above resigned in response.


Brandi Britton, a district president for OfficeTeam, said: “A demotion may happen for a variety of reasons, including performance issues, organisational changes, and an employee requesting fewer responsibilities due to personal or career priorities.”


Infographics / Robert Half
Lead image / 123RF

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This article was first published in Human Resources Online Bulletin and is reproduced with permission. Original article can be found at

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