How common are demotions at work? According to new research from staffing firm OfficeTeam, nearly half of HR managers (46 percent) have seen someone at their company moved down a rung on the career ladder. Professionals were most commonly demoted for poor performance (39 percent) and not succeeding in a new job after being promoted (38 percent).(See also infographic below.)

A demotion may happen for a variety of reasons, including performance issues, organizational changes, and an employee requesting fewer responsibilities due to personal or career priorities,” said Brandi Britton, a district president for OfficeTeam.

“It’s never easy to accept a lower role, but workers can show their professionalism and bounce back by keeping their emotions in check, understanding the root cause and performing at a high level to position themselves for future advancement.”

OfficeTeam offers three tips for workers when dealing with an involuntary demotion:

  1. Remain calm. Focus on understanding why your role is being downgraded.
  2. Get details. Find out what’s expected in the new position and if there are steps you can take to be reinstated in your previous job. Ask your manager to identify areas for improvement and training opportunities.
  3. Weigh the options. Think through the changes before deciding whether you want to make the most of the role or look for a different one that better suits your long-term goals.
  4. *…… Related to the point above, move on if the demotion will negatively impact your work attitude because you will feel humiliated.   In a newspaper job I once had, a managing editor (I “think” that was his title) was demoted to associate editor, and he seemed very “sour grapes” about it. Why he was still there – no one could figure out. It hurt the morale of everyone in the newsroom. Don’t hang around! Get a different gig!  (*Tip courtesy of author of this blog.)

OfficeTeam, a Robert Half company, is the nation’s leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled office and administrative support professionals. The company has more than 300 locations worldwide. For additional information, visit