It’s “Who you know” say 72% of professionals about career success

A new Ladders survey out today shows that 72% of high-earning professionals say who you know gets you ahead in your career.  70% network offline and 57% now actively network online — underscoring the growing popularity of online career advancement.

New York, NY, January 29, 2020 — Ladders Research shows 72% of professionals say connections matter most for getting ahead in one’s career.  While offline networking is still more popular – 70% of respondents say they do so actively – a majority of professionals now also use online resources to network and get the “who you know” method working for them.

71% of respondents said they learn about career planning by reading articles online, which supports the growing notion that online education options are overtaking traditional methods. 62% of respondents answered that networking with others in their field is the best way to get ahead, with only 53% saying that doing a great job for their current employer is the better option.

92% of respondents indicated that career success was a priority for them in their lives, with 79% taking active steps to move ahead. 73% of respondents use online tools and resources to advance their careers, with offline options just behind at 68%.

41% said they interview for jobs even when not actively looking for a new job; a strong indicator that the pro-active use of easy-to-use online resources is increasingly common.

Further results:

“The best way to get ahead in my career is to:”

Know the right people 72%
Network with others in my field 62%
Do a very good job for my current employer 53%
Find a new, higher paying job 44%
Get lucky 34%
Other 4%

“I do other work to augment my income, which is:”

I do not do other work to augment my income 34%
Consulting work 25%
Other 20%
Part-time work 19%
Free-lance work 16%
Advisory work 14%

“I interview for jobs even when not actively looking:”

Strongly agree 14%
Agree 27%
Neutral 26%
Disagree 11%
Strongly disagree 22%

“Career success is a priority for me:”

Strongly agree 58%
Agree 34%
Neutral 7%
Disagree 1%
Strongly disagree 0%

“I often think about getting ahead in my career:”

Strongly agree 43%
Agree 39%
Neutral 14%
Disagree 3%
Strongly disagree 1%

“I take active steps to get ahead in my career:”

Strongly agree 39%
Agree 40%
Neutral 19%
Disagree 2%
Strongly disagree 0%

“I use online tools and sites to help me get ahead in my career:”

Strongly agree 31%
Agree 42%
Neutral 23%
Disagree 3%
Strongly disagree 1%

“I use offline tools and resources to help me get ahead in my career:”

Strongly agree 24%
Agree 44%
Neutral 22%
Disagree 8%
Strongly disagree 2%

“I improve my chances of career advancement by:”

Networking with professionals offline 70%
Reading industry related news 66%
Interviewing for new opportunities 61%
Reading news related to my job function 58%
Networking with professionals online 57%
Completing professional courses/training 53%
Attending trade shows and conferences 32%
Asking for referrals 31%
Other 1%

“I learn about career planning by:”

Reading articles online 71%
Reading LinkedIn 67%
Talking with friends and co-workers 59%
Reading Ladders News 43%
Google searches 36%
Reading books 33%
Reading WSJ, Fortune, or Businessweek 27%
Listening to podcasts 17%
Watching videos on YouTube 8%
Following Twitter accounts 5%
Other 2%




This research study was conducted October 20th to October 27th, 2019 by Ladders Inc., among the members of the Ladders professional community. 1,233 responses were recorded. Gender distribution was 75% male, 25% female. Average annual compensation of respondents was $148,000.