5 signs your technical career is stagnating, and what to do about it

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Guidance for Job Seekers

Posted 15.01.20

technical career

Is your career stuck in a rut? At this time of year many people get the January Blues and often take it out on their job. When we’re feeling down over the winter months, we look for someone or something to blame; and that might be your boss or the day-to-day grind of work. However, sometimes your job is really to blame, especially when your career is stagnating.

Below we share the tell-tale signs that the problem goes deeper than the January Blues, and what to do about a stagnant career.

5 signs your technical career is stuck in a rut

  1. Your salary hasn’t gone up for 2 years or more

If you’ve been with the same employer for over 2 years and you haven’t received a raise, find out why. Is it because you haven’t asked? Is it because your employer doesn’t value you? Or is it because you haven’t developed your skills and expertise during this time?

Your annual performance review is a chance to raise these issues and explore whether it’s down to lack of ambition on your part, lack of opportunity on the side of your employer, or something else. Before you go into your performance review, assess your performance and collate the evidence to support your case. If you discover the reasons your salary has flatlined are down to you, be honest with yourself about why this has happened and what factors would make a difference. It might be time to make a sideways room to restart your career and get out of a rut.

  1. You’re meeting expectations but not exceeding them

If feedback from your employer is that your ‘meeting expectations’ but you’re not blowing them away, your career (at least with that firm) has probably peaked. But before you look for a new job it’s important to think about whether a change will have the desired effect of progressing your career.

Are you passing up opportunities to progress because you’re comfortable plodding along, or is it lack of opportunity or an issue with the culture that has made you take your foot of the accelerator? It’s important to identify the factors that create the right environment for you to excel, so that you don’t move jobs only to find yourself plodding along there too.

  1. You keep getting passed up for promotion

It’s likely that if your salary hasn’t increased and you’re not exceeding expectations performance wise, you probably haven’t had a promotion for some time. If that’s the case you need to work out why and decide whether there’s any chance of a promotion with your current employer in the future. Ask your boss if you haven’t already.

Similarly, if you haven’t been promoted in the last 3 years or so, but your employer seems to be happy with your performance, find out why. It might be because they don’t know you’re actively looking to progress your career, or perhaps the company structure doesn’t provide scope for you to climb the career ladder without moving elsewhere.

  1. Your skills and expertise are not getting used

Perhaps you’re overqualified for your current role and your employer doesn’t have the work you need to progress further? It might be that when you were originally hired your company needed your skills but new developments have superseded them, or the business strategy has changed and the focus is no longer on work that needs your specialist expertise.

If your skills and expertise are redundant because you’ve failed to keep up-to-date with new developments, moving jobs won’t improve the situation. It’s time to upskill and get the qualifications you need to progress. However, if it’s because of changes to the company explore whether you can take on more responsibilities or move to a different area of the business to utilise your skillset fully and get the progression you want. Alternatively, a new job with an employer who needs your specialisation and can offer you the right opportunities should be the next step.

  1. You don’t have opportunities for continuing professional development

Anyone working in technical fields such as structural and civil engineering, information technology and cyber security must take responsibility for continuing professional development (CPD). However, you should expect a certain amount of support from your employer to do this. They should understand your need to keep professional qualifications up-to-date and, where possible, provide opportunities for you to do so.

To progress further in your career you may also want to gain new qualifications or skills. This should be advantageous to your employer too, increasing the company’s capabilities. But if your employer isn’t supportive or providing learning opportunities, it could be an indication that your career, at least with them, is stagnating. Time to move on.

Has your career hit a dead end? If it’s time to find a new technical job to help progress your career, get in touch with our team to see how we can help. Energi People works with technical candidates in the construction engineering, IT & technology, and construction & hospitality fields (luxury resort construction and management). Give us a call if you want to see career progression in 2020.

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