Priscilla Claman breaks it to us:
Career ladders are an artifact of the Mad Men era, when you signed onto an organization at age 21, followed the rules, were incrementally promoted, and retired with a gold watch. But those days are long gone. Career ladders died out during the late 1980s and early 1990s, when over 85% of Fortune 1000 American companies downsized their white-collar workforce. … Downsizing has only escalated from there, however in the 80s and 90s the lost jobs were not in manufacturing but white-collar jobs, including management jobs. As companies thinned out, those leadership positions disappeared — and most haven't come back since.