Seeking Growth: When to Opt for Vertical vs. Horizontal Career Moves

AAlan January 8, 2024 7:02 AM

Career growth can be likened to the branches of a tree. It can either grow vertically up or horizontally out. The path you choose depends on your personal goals and aspirations. This article will delve deep into both vertical and horizontal career growth, highlighting the pros and cons of each, and providing tips on when to opt for each of them.

Understanding Vertical and Horizontal Career Growth

Vertical career growth refers to moving up the ladder within your current field. Think of this as climbing the corporate ladder in your chosen profession. You might start as an intern, move onto being an executive, then a manager, and eventually work your way up to senior management or even CEO.

On the other hand, horizontal career growth refers to expanding your skill set and experiences across different sectors or industries, without necessarily moving up in rank. This might be moving from marketing to sales, or from HR to project management.

Why Choose Vertical Career Growth

Choosing the vertical career path has a few benefits:

  • Higher Pay: As you move up the hierarchy, your paycheck usually increases. This is not always the case when moving horizontally, as you might be switching to a role that pays similarly or even less than your current one.

  • More authority: With higher positions come more responsibilities and authority. This could mean leading a team, making strategic decisions, or having more influence within the company.

  • Specialization: If you love what you do and want to become an expert in it, vertical career growth allows for specialization.

The Upside of Horizontal Career Moves

Horizontal career growth also has its own set of advantages:

  • Variety: If you like trying new things and don't want to be pigeonholed into one role or sector, horizontal career growth gives you that flexibility.

  • Broad skill set: Moving horizontally allows you to learn new skills and gain experiences in different areas. This can make you a more versatile employee and increase your job security.

  • Networking: By working in different areas, you'll have the opportunity to meet and work with a wide range of people. This can boost your network and open up new opportunities for you in the future.

When to Opt for Vertical vs. Horizontal Career Moves

Deciding when to go vertical or horizontal depends on where you are in your career and what your future goals are. If you are early in your career and still exploring what you like, horizontal movements can provide you with a broad range of experiences. If you are deep into your career and love what you do, climbing the ladder vertically might be the way to go. If you're feeling stagnant in your current role, a horizontal move can bring a breath of fresh air.

However, it's not always an either-or decision. Having a balance of vertical and horizontal career moves can make you more well-rounded and open up more opportunities for you.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to choosing between vertical and horizontal career growth. It's all about knowing your personal goals and aspirations and making the choices that align with them.

More articles

Also read

Here are some interesting articles on other sites from our network.