The definitions of "progress" and "progression" are very similar in the Merriam Webster Learner's Dictionary.

Progress: [noncount]

1 : movement forward or toward a place

2 : the process of improving or developing something over a period of time



1 : the process of developing over a period of time

2 : a continuous and connected series of actions, events, etc. :SEQUENCE


In this article about women’s career progress, the writer sometimes uses ‘career progress” and other times uses “career progression”. What is the difference between them?


Is The Workplace Culture Stalling Women's Progress

Perhaps surprisingly more senior women report greater challenges to career progress

These unconscious biases are manifested into unintentionally exclusive behaviour that can damage women’s career progression opportunities:

Double standards at the root of women’s career progression challenges.

While blame is often put on maternity leave and work-life balance issues, research shows the extent to which unconscious gender bias in UK workplace culture can hamper women's progress.

1 Answer 1


The difference is subtle, and often trivial. Consider these two definitions from the Lexico/Oxford dictionary:

progress (n): Forward or onward movement towards a destination.

progression (n): The process of developing or moving gradually towards a more advanced state.

If we think of "progress" as simply moving forward, and a "progression" as moving sequentially from one state to a more advanced state, then it's clear any "progression" will include some measure of "progress", and any "progress" implies some kind of "progression".

"Career progress" therefore focuses more on the movement upward, possibly towards some final/pinnacle job, while "career progression" focuses more on the movement from one job to a better job (possibly along the path towards an ultimate goal).

In the end, this is two ways to describe the same thing. It's hard to talk meaningfully about "progressing" in one's career without talking about the "progressive" steps you take along the way. In the same way, any discussion of the "progression" from one job to a better job implies the intention to "progress".

In the article you link, it could be the writer intends this subtle distinction. Or it could be she just thinks using the same word over and over sounds too repetitive. Either way, there really is little difference between the two expressions.

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