Home » How to Request a Voluntary Demotion (With Examples)

How to Request a Voluntary Demotion (With Examples)

Getting promotions and timely increments is one of the major reasons one looks for a lucrative career option, right? And for most, that is how their career graphs work. Climbing the corporate ladder and reaching a high managerial designation seems to be the ultimate goal for many.

And yet, there are instances when one might not want a promotion. Instead, they may look forward to being demoted, and there could be any number of reasons for doing so. The reasons are mostly personal because you must remember that great power comes with great responsibility!

A higher position or designation might pay you more, but it also has many added responsibilities. This could lead to stress and require the employee to spend long hours at the office. Sometimes, a promotion may entail moving to another location, like shifting to another city so that they can work from the company headquarters.

This might not be conducive for many, as the employee might not want to leave their family behind or uproot the family and disrupt their way of life. Or they might want to avoid the additional stress. Hence, in such cases, they might want to keep working in the same position or even look for a demotion.

What is Voluntary Demotion?

What is Voluntary Demotion

When you want to reduce your job designation or opt to return to a junior position from a senior one, you may ask for a voluntary demotion.

You could do this if you want to return to shorter work hours, change your department and start afresh in a new job role. You want a more flexible work schedule that a junior position will allow you.

You can write a demotion letter stating your request, and in most cases, the employers respect the employee’s request.

Factors to Consider While Asking for a Demotion

While a demotion may relieve you from the work pressure and stress, you must go through it regularly. Some other factors will also play a crucial role, about which you must think carefully.

1. Lower Pay

Lower Pay

Your pay scale will also take a hit as soon as you opt for a voluntary demotion. With the reduction of your responsibilities, you will also have to face a reduction in your pay package and other perks.

You might be used to a particular lifestyle because of your present pay scale, so cutting back on expenses and living on a lower salary might be challenging.

You need to work out your finances carefully. It will ensure that even with a lower pay package, you can take care of your mandatory expenses and have some savings.

2. Negotiating With the Employer

Once you ask for a voluntary demotion, you will have to negotiate with your employer for a salary suitable for the new position. Since you are not being demoted against your will, you will have some scope to negotiate because you are no longer a novice in a junior position.

Instead, you will have all the knowledge and experience from working in a senior position and can accomplish the tasks meant for a junior with greater efficiency.

While your principal salary amount will go down, you can negotiate with your employer to pay you more than the average junior employee.

3. Leaving a Job You Loved

Leaving a Job You Loved

You might have worked very hard to get where you are today, so opting for a demotion can be indeed difficult at times. More so if you are in love with the position you are in at present.

It will also mean that you will have to get acquainted with the juniors, and you may see fewer of your colleagues in the same position. However, if you look at the larger picture, then these are secondary factors you will eventually come to terms with.

4. Psychological Preparation

Once you have taken a demotion, you will have to psychologically prepare yourself to return to working with the juniors. You may have to give up your private office and start working from a cubicle again.

You may also have to go back to tasks that you find mundane. On the other hand, if you have taken a demotion to change departments and learn something new or pursue a new career path. You will have to get used to being treated like any other junior and being reprimanded by your boss for making mistakes.

It would be best to prepare yourself psychologically to face all these scenarios.

5. Helping With the Transition

Helping With the Transition

It would be best to remember that someone will have to step up to take your place when you look for a demotion.

The responsibility for a smooth transition may fall on you, and you should make the process as smooth and easy as possible. This is especially true when you are looking for a demotion in the middle of the year, and it is not yet time for a junior to step up or hire someone else.

You have to cooperate and, for a time, handle the responsibilities of both your roles in case your employer makes a request.

Why Your Employer May Not Agree to a Demotion?

Why Your Employer May Not Agree to a Demotion?

Since asking for a demotion is your personal decision, your boss should not have any problems with it. Many juniors and coworkers are waiting to fill your senior position, which comes with many perks.

However, that is not always the case. You were promoted to your current position for a reason, and your boss might not want to let you go because they are used to the quality of work you put in. Training someone new to fill that position might not be on their radar.

Moreover, if the workplace is especially busy at any time of the year, they might not agree to make changes that will disrupt how things are done. They might tell you to wait till the end of the year when changes are made, and you have to be prepared for any other requests.

On the other hand, you also need to consider the possibility that if there are no vacancies in the junior position, you may not get the voluntary demotion you are looking for. And may have to consider quitting and starting afresh in another organization.

Tips to Make Requesting a Voluntary Demotion Easier

When you first approach a boss asking for a voluntary demotion, you will be met with surprise. In some cases, you might even face some resistance if your boss is not willing to let you go. In such cases, hire someone else for that position immediately. Here are some tips to make it easier.

1. State Your Reasons Clearly

State Your Reasons Clearly

You must be clear and honest with your boss about why you are asking for a demotion. If you are doing so for health reasons and because your doctor has advised you to reduce stress and anxiety, then come prepared with the medical reports. If you are unable to shift to another location, then clearly state your reasons.

On the other hand, if you feel that your current designation is disrupting your work-life balance, make a compelling case. Please find out why spending time with your family or pursuing other passions is important.

In most cases, bosses agree when you have excellent reasons for asking for a demotion. They might try to dissuade you and tell you it is career suicide, but if you are sure about your decision, make a compelling argument.

2. Be Helpful

Be Helpful

One of the reasons you may be asking for a demotion is to reduce stress and anxiety, and it would be excellent if you could ensure the same for your boss as well.

Assure your boss that you will help with the transition, which will go a long way in maintaining a healthy and cordial relationship with your boss and coworkers. You can also offer to train your replacement, which will greatly help the organization. That might even motivate your boss to agree to your request with less resistance.

3. Be Open to Other Ideas

Be Open to Other Ideas

While your first thought was to opt for a demotion, your boss might give you some new ideas that will help you cut down on stress or fulfill some of your other needs, because of which you were asking for a demotion.

They might tell you about another opening similar to the one you are at now but will help you make the necessary adjustments. You can be open to new ideas, making the process easier.

How to Write About a Demotion in a Resume?

Many employees take a demotion to pursue a new career path, especially when they look at the larger picture. Demotions are not considered a taboo anymore, as long as it does not reflect your poor performance at work or that you were unsure about what to do.

Hence, if you have ever taken a demotion earlier in your career, you must put it efficiently in the resume. Your new employers see it as an excellent career move rather than a setback.

  • Explain in your resume how a demotion allowed you to change departments and embark on something new that has been more satisfying professionally and personally.
  • Talk about the new skills you acquired after the demotion. You had the chance to go back to the drawing board and update your knowledge in several basic areas of your work because of the advent of new technology in the years in between.
  • Be sure about the chronology when you mention the dates for the demotion. List the demotion and then the subsequent promotions that came after that. Mention the changes in job titles accurately.
  • Use bullet points and subheads to differentiate the various job roles.

How to Write a Demotion Letter?

Before sending a formal email, you should discuss the matter with your employer in person. Talk about the reasons that have made you think about it and respect your employer by considering some of their views. Once the matter has been discussed, you can email to formalize your request, which will go into the records.

  • Start by appreciating and thanking your employer and your organization for the opportunity they have given you until now.
  • State your reasons for asking for a demotion. If the reason is personal, you can outline it without going into too many details.
  • Explain why the demoted position will be more suited to your interest. 
  • Keep your tone polite and professional.
  • Write about what you think your future will be like.
  • Talk about how you intend to stay a part of the organization and continue working there, even from a demoted position.
  • Offer to train your replacement and ensure a smooth transition.
  • Mention any details you discussed with the manager.

Examples of Asking for a Demotion

Once you have spoken to your manager about your demotion, you can send an email to formalize your request. Here are some examples to help you. You can customize them based on your designation.

Example 1

Hello Steve,

I hope you are having a good day.

I am submitting a request for voluntary demotion from my role of Chief Inventory Supervisor to Deputy Supervisor, effective April 10th, 2022.

While the role of the Chief Supervisor has been very enriching, it also came with a new set of responsibilities that clash with my work-life balance. My children will be off to college soon, which is a crucial time for our family. I want to be able to devote more time to my children before they leave the nest.

I understand that the voluntary demotion will result in a decreased salary, and it could be a while before I get an increment in the position of Deputy Supervisor. However, at present, the demotion aligns with my personal goals. If there is ever a vacancy in the senior position later, I will consider renewing my role again.

Thank you for your help and cooperation.

(Your name and contact)

Example 2

Hello Jonathan,

I hope you are well.

I am writing to request a voluntary demotion from the role of Deputy Communications Officer to Junior Accountant in your organization, effective May 10th, 2022.

As discussed, I have always been fascinated by numbers. As much as I love communicating with our clients, I want to pursue what I have always wanted. I want to explore my options in finance and accounting. I understand that I will have to start from a junior position if I want to make this shift at this phase of my career. I also understand this will also result in reduced pay, but this will be more fruitful for me in the coming days.

Thank you for believing in me and for continuing to do so. I plan to excel in my new role.
I will also help in the transition and ensure that the person replacing me in the communications department will have no trouble settling in.

Thank you and regards
(Your name and contact)


Asking for a demotion might not be easy at first, but if you carefully think it through and decide it is best for you, go for it. Many individuals have had their biggest professional breakthroughs only after they had started over from a demoted position in a new department or chose to start all over again.

Voluntary demotion can help you smoothen out your trajectory. It is not a reflection of poor performance but something you choose to do for yourself so that you can take care of certain other aspects of your life.

Hence, it would be best if you did not look at it as something you are forced to do but as a new opportunity that will help you make meaningful changes.