Managing, Leading & Personal Effectiveness

A lateral move CAN benefit your career

QA's Learning Programme Director, Jennie Marshall, looks at why, in spite of what you might believe, lateral moves can be good for your career.

You've been working hard and delivering for your organisation.

You hope to be offered a promotion, but instead a lateral move is put on the bargaining table.

Don't walk away just yet.

In spite of what you might believe, lateral moves can be good for your career. Here's why:

Broadened skill set

In larger organisations, a lateral move allows you to gain actual business unit experience, rather than just corporate experience.

The benefit: you get an operational perspective.

While this makes you more marketable in your current organisation, it can also make you attractive to recruiters and head hunters.

What does this mean? Even if there are no opportunities where you are now, making a lateral move might open the door to a higher pay grade elsewhere.


Moving laterally allows you to grow your network.

A lateral move offers you opportunities to excel in different groups, with different teams and bosses. And anytime you grow your network, you increase your chances of hearing about upcoming openings - a great thing for your career.

Protection from downsizing

Increase your job security by making a lateral move. Sound counter intuitive? The more experience you have and the more people you know in your organisation, the greater your chances of staying with it if there's a downturn.

Change and adapt

Lateral moves create growth. They force you to change and adapt. Whether it's new personnel, systems or different reporting timelines, making a lateral move causes you to continuously improve.

It's ingrained in our thinking that in order to succeed we must climb up, not sideways.

But sometimes it's a lateral move that opens the door to our next opportunity.

Relevant QA courses:

Organising work and time

Influencing and persuading

Communicate effectively

Assert yourself and build confidence

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