Survey: 22% of workers ages 18-34 say they’ve been demoted

New data from staffing firm OfficeTeam shows that 22% of workers ages 18-34 have “been demoted” on the job and 46% of HR managers surveyed said that they’ve had an employee go through this at their company.

Independent research firms polled “300 HR managers at U.S. companies with 20 or more employees and more than 1,000 U.S. workers 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments.” OfficeTeam came up with the surveys.

Reasons why people fall down the corporate ladder

HR managers who have witnessed this weighed in on the reasons.

  • “Poor performance:” 39%
  • “Employee was recently promoted but not succeeding in new role:” 38%
  • “Organizational restructuring/position eliminated:” 16%
  • “Voluntary demotion:” 6%

Brandi Britton, a district president for OfficeTeam, commented on the research in a statement.

“A demotion may happen for a variety of reasons, including performance issues, organizational changes, and an employee requesting fewer responsibilities due to personal or career priorities. … It’s never easy to accept a lower role, but workers can show their professionalism and bounce back by keeping their emotions in check, understanding the root cause and performing at a high level to position themselves for future advancement,” she said.

What people did after being demoted

The respondents who said they have gone through this weighed in, with the option to pick more than one choice.

  • “Quit the job:” 52%
  • “Tried to handle the news as gracefully as possible:” 50%
  • “Got upset and lost interest in work:” 47%
  • “Focused on excelling in the new position:” 41%

While 55% of men and 40% of women chose to jump ship at the employer that demoted them, 64% of those 18-34, 34% of those 35-54 and 0% of those 55 and older did so.

HR leaders at companies with 1,000 or more workers had the highest percentage of witnessing a demotion at 91%. But while 19% of men and seven percent of women have been demoted, those 55 and older were the least likely to have been, with a whopping 97% saying this hasn’t happened to them.