The principle that every employee eventually rises to his or her level of incompetence.

Managers are presumed to be promoted whenever they do jobs competently. They stop being promoted when their ‘final promotion’ takes them to a job that they do incompetently.

The tendency to over promote people permeates every level of an organisation – from the marketing assistant who will never have what it takes to be a marketing manager to the outstanding finance director who is promoted as CEO. Taken to extremes, it is a deeply depressing idea. It means that all employees however efficient are merely in transit, en route to a desk where they will be useless.

Thus Peter’s Corollary says that in time every post tends to be occupied by an employee who is incompetent to carry out his duties.

Therefore companies are only kept alive because work is done by those who have yet to reach their level of incompetence


Promote people as far as possible without changing their jobs, put them on a different pay scale; change their job title and their office, but let them do the same work.