Does seniority matter in employment? Should promotion be based on merit or seniority?

Importance of seniority in employment

Does seniority matter in employment? Should promotion be based on merit or seniority?
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Many an employee must have thought that the seniority is of great value and relevance to provide the opportunities in terms of career development and promotion. There are also some people who believe that being senior is to be nearer to be a redundant sooner or later. In fact, senior employees may have either positive or negative experiences in relation to both factors.

There is no saying as to how the situation may be assessed. If someone is senior, it may or may not be necessary that he deserves promotion. Similarly, a senior employee may or may not be declared as redundant for his services to have come to end. It would thus be a curious paradox arising from this situation and making an employee think whether he or she should continue working within the same organization or strive to find a better job elsewhere.

Evidence reveals that there are always positive elements being associated with one’s longer service or employment and the rewards or benefits are accorded to greater age accordingly. But this should not be taken in isolation, because it’s one thing to do A, it’s another thing to do B. In the sense, being known as senior is one thing and being senior and experienced with a greater exposure is quite another.

In the former case seniority is just the seniority with a longer tenure of employment, whereas the latter indicates that, of course, the seniority matters.

It would thus be, in the light of further evidence, construed that there is always a compelling reason to preserve the services of senior employees who have gained a high level of competence and vast exposure. It is also for this reason that promotion is based on the merit rather than seniority. Though it does not seem to be a global approach, but it does dominate at least in private organizations where performance is preferred to the length of service and so it must be acceptable on firm ground that being competent is contributing to the total organizational competencies.

Nonetheless, if it is to be considered in the constructive terms, seniority needn’t only be evidenced by better performance, but loyalty and devotion as well, which must also deserve recognition and particular rewards. As regards the seniority with required capability and quality experience, it is not at all a bar to promotion but it’s indeed a door to success.

Written by:

K. A. Fareed (Fareed Siddiqui)

Writer, Trainer, Author, Software Developer

BBA, MBA-Finance, MPhil-Financial Management, (PhD-Management)

MA-English, MPhil-English

Module 1 - Leadership and Management ILM – UK

Pursuing CMA-USA

Individual Member of Institute of Management Consultants of India


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