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The top 10 industries where it's easiest to get promoted, according to LinkedIn

Start by looking at the “industries poised for rapid advancement.”

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The U.S. added just 210,000 nonfarm payrolls in November as the labor market ebbs and flows during Covid. While overall job creation missed economists' expectations, some industries keep booming — and landing an opportunity in the right one could fast-track you to the top.

That's because it's easier to get ahead in certain fields, according to recent data from LinkedIn. To find the top areas with the quickest path up, the website's Economic Graph team studied internal data at companies with more than 10 workers, from November 2020 to October 2021. 

Here are the 10 industries where employees get the most frequent promotions.

10. Transportation and logistics

Top cities: Fort Smith, Arizona; Fayetteville, Arizona; Chattanooga, Tennessee
Top skills: Third-party logistics, LTL shipping

9. Health care

Top cities: Wilmington, North Carolina; Bloomington, Indianapolis; Kalamazoo, Missouri
Top skills: Electronic medical records, HIPAA, patient safety

8. Manufacturing

Top cities: Elmira-Corning, New York; Reno, Nevada; Quad Cities Metro Area
Top skills: Lean manufacturing, root cause analysis

7. Hardware and networking

Top cities: Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; Philadelphia, Denver
Top skills: Wireless technologies, internet protocol

6. Entertainment

Top cities: New York City, Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; Los Angeles
Top skills: Broadcasting, video production, game development

5. Consumer goods

Top cities: Santa Barbara, California; Portland, Oregon; Sheboygan, Wisconsin
Top skills: Merchandising, inventory management

4. Finance

Top cities: Portland, Maine; Columbia, Missouri; Boston
Top skills: Underwriting, consumer lending, mortgage lending

3. Corporate services

Top cities: Cape Coral, Florida; Chicago, Boston
Top skills: Recruiting, tax preparation

2. Software and IT Services

Top cities: Santa Barbara, California; Austin, Texas; Fayetteville, Arizona
Top skills: SaaS, cloud computing

1. Media and communications

Top cities: New York City, Chicago, Boston
Top skills: Media buying, digital strategy

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Look for a company, industry 'poised for rapid expansion'

Several factors play into why certain industries and roles offer faster promotion rates. Some may have complex hierarchies that naturally lead to more openings, whereas in others, you may have to wait for a vacancy or put in a few years before being eligible for a bump up the ladder.

Start by "looking at the list with industries poised for rapid advancement," says Monster career expert Vicki Salemi. Then look for companies within that industry that are doing well and have a structure that encourages advancement opportunities. "Even though the industry may be viable for advancement, the company may have a flat organization."

Schedule a sit-down with your manager to talk about the specific dynamics. You can ask if your company offers online training or provides avenues to learn the skills you need to get there.

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To switch fields, figure out 'what it takes to succeed and advance'

Trying a new field altogether requires some prep work. It could pay off to network outside of your normal professional circle and take some time to learn relevant skills you'll need to succeed.

"Do your homework," says Salemi. "Conduct informational interviews with people who work in the industry [that you're eyeing]. Ask what it takes to succeed and advance. Ask what skills are highly valuable and ask what you should know before switching fields."

Depending on the industry you're in, many talents can be transferable, meaning you could take what you've learned in one role and tweak it so that it translates into another, she adds.

Ask what it takes to succeed and advance. Ask what skills are highly valuable and ask what you should know before switching fields.
Vicki Salemi
career expert, Monster

"The skills that you already possess can demonstrate how you can pivot into another area. For instance, last year when hospitality professionals were unfortunately laid off or furloughed and looking for jobs, many leaned into one of their top skills: customer service," she says. Maybe you learned about Google Analytics or became familiar with coding in your last role. Those skills can be widely applied. 

Consider tweaking your resume to showcase desired attributes, career experts suggest. By focusing on a key skill, Salemi explains, "you position yourself with prospective employers on how you can succeed in their industry, even if you haven't previously worked in it."

Getting promoted in a new field or even your current one isn't always a seamless process, but it helps to increase your self-awareness and understand your gaps and strengths, adds Angelina Darrisaw, a career coach and founder and CEO of C-Suite Coach. "Seek regular feedback to deepen your understanding around what's needed for you to progress, and pay attention."

You could engage with a coach to help "map out the steps you need to take to get promoted," she says. "Use these conversations to determine what you need to develop for that next step."

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