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June 2024

Reached the top? What now? How to stay relevant in the market.

By Laura Duksaite, Managing Partner of Master Class Lietuva – AGILIUM WORLDWIDE’s member firm in Lithuania.

At the beginning of your career the path goes higher and steeper. But what do you do when you have reached the top of the career ladder? How can you continue to be relevant and desirable on the labor market and, at the same time, continue to develop as a manager?

Laura Duksaite shared a wealth of information with business people, alumni and students at the 2024 Conference of the ISM Magistrų klubas*, where this specific aspect of career development  interested the participants especially, and also formed the basis for lively discussion.

In summary, Laura explained that one way to do this is to start a career in a different industry. However, if the industries are too similar, even after changing companies you may not feel and experience a fundamental and desired change.

What does “changing industries” imply? For example, this may be the move from the financial sector to a manufacturing company. Some managers consciously plan such transitions, as a strategic element of their professional development plan. Others may dive into such a change quite spontaneously, simply because they have taken a liking to the field of business and want to try it out.

Laura Duksaite

We find that younger generation managers tend to plan such changes earlier on and more courageously. On the contrary, older generation managers often take 15-20 years to become ready for such a change, and this could even be the first major change of direction in their career so far.

Yet, how does the market react to such sudden changes? Laura described this as a mostly “cautious response” and explained that if it's an experienced manager in accounting, finance or procurement undergoing the career change, for example, the transition is generally easier implemented and recognized.

However, if the manager works in sales within a specialized market, such a change requires more determination and usually involves more hesitation on the host’s side. Questions might be raised about whether the manager really has the right expertise in that field, and how is he or she going to compensate for possible deficits or differences, etc.

The banking sector, where careers usually develop from the bottom up and not by side-stepping from other sectors, is extremely conservative in this respect. The same goes for the FMCG sector. Careers in this sector are also built from the ground up. In the B2B services and trade sectors it is easier to sidestep across industries as, in most cases practices are quite similar, and if there are differences, these are usually easy to navigate.

Laura’s presentation resulted in interesting and effective communication, and networking, between attendees. In her presentation, Laura also emphasized the importance of the latter – to remain relevant in the job market managers need to network both inside and outside of their business areas and their hierarchical levels.

**The ISM Masters Club is a social organization open to all ISM Executive School alumni and students.

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