Summer is a notoriously slow period at lots of business as many employees head off on vacation (or are distracted by daydreams of the beach). For that reason it can feel like a less than ideal time to make a career move, whether that be searching for a new gig or asking for a promotion at your current one.

But a new report from workforce analytics company Visier should make you think twice about that common sense conclusion. The company's analysis of data on 3.5 million employees at nearly 80 American companies shows that summer is actually the best time to ask for a promotion.

Vacation season is also promotion season.

When Visier crunched the numbers they found a lot of our everyday intuitions about promotions are actually correct. Younger employees aged 25-30 receive the most promotions, which makes sense as these are the prime years for climbing from clueless entry-level worker to seasoned contributor. Likewise, the firm's findings that high performers get four times as many promotions as low performers will surprise exactly no one.

The pattern of when the most promotions occur will shock some, however. When Visier looked back on the last three years of data a clear seasonal pattern emerged.  Each year promotions plummeted in the winter only to climb back to a peak in the summer.

That means if you think you're due for a step up at your company, don't put off facing the boss until everyone comes back from their holidays in the fall. Maybe it's the warm weather making managers feel generous or maybe it's something to do with the rhythms of the fiscal year, but whatever the reason, right now (or even a few weeks earlier next time around) is the peak time to ask.

What else can you do to maximize your chances of getting a promotion?

If you want a bump in pay and responsibility, what else can you do to maximize your chances besides waiting for the temperatures to rise? Well, for a starters you could try moving to Texas. Employees in Texas got two percent more promotions than those in New York and three percent more than those in California.

But if moving isn't exactly practical then try focusing on your timing, not just in terms of the season, but also in terms of how long into your tenure at a company you wait to ask for a jump up. Just 6.4 percent of employees receive a promotion in their first year on the job. Wait until your third year of service and that number jumps to nearly 22 percent, so holding off until you've had enough time to make a thoroughly positive impression makes sense.

The bottom line is, if you're dreaming of a promotion, when you ask matters and the peak period to ask for a bump up is probably not when you thought. If you want to rise in the ranks, take some time out from packing your beach bag and consider asking during the summer a few years after you started working at the company. 

Published on: Jul 31, 2018