Careers Advice - How to earn yourself a promotion in the private sector

Written by: Shaun Lewis
Published on: 27 Jun 2014


It’s obvious, isn’t it? Just stay at your firm for longer and get better at what you do…

Yes, that is important - but is that all there is to it? To be rewarded with a promotion in the private sector depends on a number of factors, seemingly out of your control. Some of which include:

  • Your firm’s order book and forward pipeline
  • The number of staff who work in the firm
  • Opportunities in rival firms.

In order to be promoted you need to show that you can operate at a higher value than you currently do. If you consider the value you offer to the business, you will probably see the correlation between your fee income and your remuneration.

Whilst all town planners should easily develop technical skills, it is the other softer skills which will enhance your chances of a promotion in a consulting firm.

What exposure have you had to business development, client management, project management, staff management? Have you contributed to the overall strategic plan of the firm? Have you been an ambassador for the firm by attending, and speaking at industry conferences and events? Do you have a Twitter or LinkedIn account where you can tell the world about the successes of your firm and further promote their services?

All of these things increase your value to your employer.

To move forward in your role as a consultant you must have a career development plan. This plan will encourage you to learn new skills and implement them into the way you work. The plan itself should be designed to offer you a guide on what you need to do to achieve a promotion. It always surprises me how few consultants have a career development plan. It is tragically overlooked.

The final factor is to maintain excellent communication with your bosses. Let them know what you want to achieve and demonstrate to them that you are capable of taking on new responsibilities. Put forward solutions to their problems. Don’t wait for the opportunities to come to you, or otherwise someone else will beat you to the punch and get that promotion before you.

Be proactive, be brave and always strive to be the best!

Shaun Lewis is director of town planning at recruitment consultancy Lewis Davey