SURVEY SAYS: Employee Demotions

We covered a survey which found nearly half of HR managers (46%) have seen someone at their company moved down a rung on the career ladder.

Last week, I asked NewsDash readers, “Have you ever been demoted at an employer, and if you were demoted now, would you quit your job or stick it out?”


Two in ten (21.2%) responding readers reported they have been demoted at an employer, while nearly eight in ten (78.8%) have not.  More than half (58.1%) said they would stick it out if demoted now, and 41.9% said they would quit.


In verbatim comments left by readers, many caveated that they would stick it out UNTIL they found a new job. Several said demotions are a sign the employer wants the employee gone, but a few said it could be a good thing. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: I’ve seen demotions work very well in finding a good person a job with a better fit. Positioning should be about both the success of the business and the person.”


Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey!



It was done poorly and not communicated to those of us who were demoted until the announcement was made.

Demoted, no. Fired, yes.

There’s generally a good reason for them.

The specific situation would greatly impact my action. If it was a stretch position and it was realized I wasn’t actually ready, I could accept the demotion and stay with the company. Otherwise, I see a demotion as a failure either on my part to rise to the occasion or on my manager for not effectively communicating that I wasn’t performing up to expected standards.

As long as the pay is the same — there’s really no problem with staying.

I’d stick it out only until I found a better job. I don’t have enough money to just quit! By the way, it happened to me and I’m still looking. Wish me luck.

If I were demoted but they didn’t reduce my salary or other benefits, it would be like a promotion! Less work & same pay. Perfect.

Despite assurances that you are still valued by Mgmt, the internal network has already labeled you as damaged goods.

Although I wouldn’t like a decrease in pay, I might welcome a demotion. I could use easier work as I near retirement!

I’ve never seen a person last long at an employer after being demoted.

It’s demoralizing and I would lose my commitment to the company as a partner. No point in working for a company if I don’t feel a mutual vested interest.

Stick it out ONLY to search for a new job. My hours in the office would be much less!

Quit, once I have a new job.

I would stick it out if demoted now because I don’t have that long to retirement, but when younger, I would just move on. Demotions are usually used to edge someone out the door. Otherwise they usually make hard feelings. Usually they are disguised as a new exciting opportunity!

It happened in my early 30’s and I stayed but searched out other employment. In a perverse way it motivated me to double down on savings. Today at 58 I could quit tomorrow — but my plan is another 5 years just to be sure! So I would stick it out.

To me there are 3 reasons for a demotion. 1) The person is unable to perform the duties of the position. 2) A tool to have someone resign without terminating them. 3) The person wants less job responsibility.

I stuck it out only because I was in my early 20’s and did not comprehend what had happened. I was told I could come back the next day to a different job or not come back. So in a sense, I guess I really got fired but was too ignorant to realize it so I went back to the ‘other’ job until I found a new one! What we learn as we grow older 🙂

I would quit after I found a job at another place.

I am extremely confident that I will not be demoted unless I decide to be stupid. But if I am forced to deal with it, I would quit but after getting a new job. And, I will have no problem with landing one soon. I trust my credentials and work ethics.

I’ve seen others be demoted at work, sometimes just to take them “down a notch”…which I think is extremely wrong. It is better off not doing it, the work productivity goes down and so does their attitude…work demotions are not ideal for any party involved…it would just be easier and safer to fire someone.

I’ve seen demotions work very well in finding a good person a job with a better fit. Positioning should be about both the success of the business and the person.

Sometimes they can be a positive change for the person and team.

Sometimes business considerations affect good people. Unless I felt like I was targeted for no good reason, I’d stick it out.

I think a demotion is a polite way an employer is telling you to take a hike.



NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not necessarily the stance of Strategic Insight or its affiliates.