This study examines the issue of career advancement for Tibetan employees in private enterprises in the Tibet Autonomous Region. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 52 enterprise employees and two government officers. Results show that, in comparison with the Han, the career advancement of Tibetan employees lags behind. Moreover, intragroup differences exist within Tibetans. A theoretical framework generated from the primary data identifies influential factors from three levels, namely the individual level, the micro-contextual (organisational) level and the macro-contextual (regional differences and Chinese governmental ethnic-related policies) level. The study aims to explore an under-researched question regarding the career experiences of ethnic minorities in contemporary China.