If you want to get promoted, you need your employer to recognise your contribution. Taking on new tasks and learning new skills can help with this. Sometimes you may need to change employers to develop your career.
Employers have different rules for promotions and pay. It may be discrimination if they are not consistent or do not make reasonable adjustments.
Look at roles in your organisation and on job websites to find the type of job you want to have. Look at the required skills and experience. Think about what skills you already have and which ones you need to develop.
People might wrongly assume that you're happy with your current job. Challenge this in a positive way by showing that you're keen to explore new ideas. Think about the experience you've gained and what you can do. Ask yourself:
What do you like about your current job?
What are your strengths?
What are you doing well?
What skills do you want to develop?
What goals do you want to achieve?
Take on new duties
It might be easier to take on new duties in a smaller organisation, but it might be easier to move between roles in a larger organisation. For example, moving on from being a receptionist by becoming a secretary or executive assistant.
Looking at job specifications for the role you want can help you to see what experience or qualifications are needed.
Talk to a manager you trust about what kind of new duties and projects you might be able to take on. These should help you to develop the skills you need. Agree to take on work that you feel comfortable doing or work with someone who is more experienced. Be realistic about how much extra work you can do.
Ask your manager to review how things are going. This will allow them to give you feedback.
Ask for training
Ask about learning and development in your organisation. If your employer cannot pay for you to learn new skills, you could ask about some independent study. You could also ask about working in another team or shadowing someone doing a different job. This will help you to understand what a different role is like.
Online learning can be an effective way of learning new skills. You can access some of the courses for free:
A mentor can help you to think about things differently and to plan. Big organisations might have their own 'buddy' system. Ask your HR department.
Make a list of people you respect who work in your field. If they are doing or have done your dream job, all the better. Once you have this list, try approaching them. Many will be happy to help and may be flattered to be asked for their advice. Start by looking on LinkedIn or Twitter. Personal recommendations are also good.
Some employers have a set process for promotions. For example, an interview or assessment.
You may need reasonable adjustments to give you the same chance as your colleagues. There is no set definition on what is ‘reasonable’. It depends on your condition and how your employer promotes people.
If rules are unfair to disabled people, this is discrimination. For example, if pay rises depend on attendance records and do not allow for disability-related absence.
It is not discrimination if the non-disabled people you work with are treated the same.
To prove discrimination, you need to know that other people have been paid more while you have not. If you know your colleagues have received a pay rise, ask why you have not.
You can start by emailing your line manager or someone in the human resources (HR) department. You could also try talking to them in private: “I am aware that other people have had pay rises and I’ve noticed that I haven’t. Please can you explain why?”
There may be a good reason. Each company handles pay differently. But if there are rules, they must be consistent.
Find out what criteria your employer uses. Sometimes, applying the same criteria to all staff can be discrimination.
Is it discrimination?
For example, if your boss wants staff to network, and the venues are not accessible to you.
If you have had to take time off work because you are disabled, it could be discrimination if your employer does not make allowances for this.
If you think the way performance is measured is discrimination, speak to your line manager about how you might change this. There may be other ways of measuring performance that are accessible to you. Working out what's possible is what the law calls 'reasonable adjustments'.
Warning Claim discrimination within 3 months
You can get free, impartial advice from the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS). Their advisers can also discuss the pros and cons of taking a discrimination claim to an employment tribunal. You must do this in less than 3 months of the discrimination taking place.