Stuck in a career plateau? How to jazz things up in the workplace!

January 31, 2020 | Rouba Zeidan

Let’s face it, we are entering a new era in the workplace where the very meaning of “work” is changing forever.


Companies of all sectors are scrambling to realign their business processes with technology while trying to honor their commitment to their employees. That is, as much as realistically possible. News of machines taking over work activities traditionally performed by humans is one of the most dreaded and inevitable outcomes of digital transformation. In Gartner’s 2018 Shifting Skills Survey, 80% of the 7,000 employees surveyed said they lack both the skills they need for their current and future careers. Though such an ecosystem can affect people in different ways, it can create a form of temporary stagnation to career progression which may cause irritation and mental anxiety for some; a kind of career plateau.

Described by various scholars as to the phenomenon which occurs when a professional’s work-related duties, responsibilities, and challenges come to an end or at least “seem” like they are, career plateaus can have a detrimental impact on individual performance and motivation. But no matter the cause of your stagnation at work, the best way to break the downward spiral is to upskill. By upskill, we mean going beyond the lifetime learner approach and into an industry-specific certification that can not only boost your career but also support your continuous learning and development.

For management accountants, a transition of the sort can come in the form of certification programs, such as the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant), that are continuously updated and modified to enable professionals to remain at the forefront of the industry. Beyond the financial gains of being certified, which can help professionals reel in more than 150% higher salaries than their non-certified peers, the renewed sense of job security expressed by 74% of the professionals surveyed by IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) could be just what you need to reignite your passion for your profession.

The same study conducted by IMA also found that 78% of CMAs said certification enhanced their ability to move with ease across the different business areas, thus enabling them to present more value to their organizations. What better way to break through stagnation than by rising in the ranks while being viewed as a self-driven professional capable of adding value across various areas of the business?

At a time when professionals are seeking more profound meaning to their careers, rising up the corporate ladder is no longer the sole area of focus. It remains essential of course; however, crafting a rewarding career through which individual contribution is valued can in some cases, make all the difference. Digital transformation may be triggering your stagnation, but it is no novel concept. Automation has been a source of fear over job retention since as far back as the 18th century and perhaps for good reason. It is presenting professionals with a moving target that is pushing, nudging, and in turn, inspiring change and evolution. If harnessed and perceived as a call for growth, career plateaus are actually doing you a favor. The question is: what are you going to do about it?