Why Most Women Professionals Fail To Land the Promotion They Deserve

By Eryka T Johnson


Growing up corporate in the oil & gas industry for the past 17 years which tends to be male-dominated, I’ve had to work extremely hard to prove myself over and over in order to secure any growth opportunities that not only showcased my value but provided a direct route to the organization’s bottom line.

Although hard work is important, this article is not focused on the work. Rather, it’s more about how women professionals can be more strategic with their work and career progression. 

If you haven’t already read the first article in this month’s series “Why You Must Self-Promote In The Workplace”, go back and read it. For those who have read it, let’s continue.

Why do most women professionals fail to land the promotion they deserve? Glad you asked. Here’s three responses to that question.

Not clear on what you want

This is goal setting 101. Indecisiveness can cripple your positioning as a woman professional hoping for career progression. How can you possibly get to where you are going without clarity on where exactly you want to go?

Typically in these cases, I find that women lack exposure to the possibilities. Maybe you have not been exposed enough to different roles in the organization or have not had conversations with individuals in roles that interest you.

Let me give you the solution. Get from behind your desk and go network. Reach out to individuals and let them know you would like to have a 15 minute conversation or a lunch date to discuss what they do in their roles. Not only will you build a new relationship but also obtain information to decide on your next role.

Connection can breed exposure.


promotionFailure to express exactly what you want and express it often

In other words, you leave everything to chance. How has that worked for you in the past?

The best way to advocate for yourself is to verbally express it to those of authority and often. Refuse to wait until its performance review time to communicate your goals. Regularly, you should be sharing your goals, discussing your plan, and soliciting the help of your manager to be successful.

As a result, two things will happen.

  • Your manager takes your direction and advocates for the position you desire.


  • Your manager becomes annoyed and tells you the opportunity you desire isn’t the right fit for you or outside your reach due to competency gaps.

Either way, both builds awareness on what your follow-up strategy should look like.


The belief it will naturally happen

This mentality is keeping so many women stuck. You feel if you do the work, the right individuals will notice, and you will land the promotion you deserve.

Just the other Saturday during a live stream with women professionals talking about beliefs that cause women not to self-promote on the job, I made a bold statement that I once heard Oprah say “it’s not about what you deserve but about what you are willing to fight for.”

The women professionals tuning in had a moment of reflection and a total mindset shift.

  • Yes! You deserve to be next in line.
  • Yes! You are the best at what you do.
  • Yes! You always exceed expectations and support the organization.
  • Yes! You are the right candidate for the job.

However, if you fail to fight for the promotion meaning self-promote and communicate your value to management, you will remain in your current role and possibly resent going to work.  

Did you find this article helpful? Please let me know.

Eryka T. Johnson