As someone who has been working in the same industry for a substantial (ahem) time I was delighted to read about Paula Nickolds’ promotion to Managing Director at John Lewis.
It wasn’t however, about her being female. I am aware that this is a topical news story, but my main point of interest was down to the fact that she had joined John Lewis many years ago, as a trainee, and had moved up the ranks over a lengthy period of time.
Granted, John Lewis are not an SME, but a large established retailer who have a large infrastructure that can support, nurture and develop their people, offering them the chance to rotate in different departments. However I still think that Paula Nickold’s appointment to the board, in my book, challenges the assumptions of many of the younger candidates that we work with, which is, that to be successful you have to jump ship and change companies on a very regular basis.
I’m a firm believer that job responsibilities should evolve and that a good employer will communicate openly and be transparent to their people about how likely this can happen. I also believe that a good employer will be a great listener, be open to new ways of working and be adaptable to the demands of external economic and social influences. Of course, we can’t please everyone all of the time and there will be circumstances where changing employment is the best decision for career advancement. Companies are good at saying they want to hire people for the long term, but they should spend more time publicising their internal promotions and successes , as I am sure that this would be very appealing to the talented individuals who are just about to join the London job market.