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Shall I stay or shall I go: Why (and how often) should you change jobs?

19 / 09 / 2017
Shall I stay or shall I go: Why (and how often) should you change...Changing jobs can elicit a number of emotions, ranging from abject terror to unbridled excitement - and everything in between. 

In generations past, it wasn't unusual for an employee to remain loyal to one company for decades or even an entire career. Attitudes have begun to change, however, with far more people expecting to switch employers multiple times over the years. 

Millennials are often thought to be the instigator of this loyalty-light reputation. A 2011 PwC survey revealed that more than a quarter of Generation Y expect to work for six employers or more during their lifetime.

A more recent Deloitte report found that 38 per cent of global millennials expected to leave their jobs within the next two years in 2017. 

Is this the right idea? What are the advantages and disadvantages of regular job switches? And how often is too often when moving jobs? 

Let's try to answer some of these questions. 

The pros and cons of switching roles

Advantages

Searching for a new job can provide a number of opportunities. 

A higher salary is often a key benefit of changing companies, whereas sticking with the same employer isn't usually as financially lucrative. Our research shows that people who jump ship almost always enjoy better wage increases than those who don't. 

For example, compliance professionals who changed roles in 2017 saw their salaries climb 17 per cent on average, compared with just five per cent for non-movers. 

Career development is typically a top-two motivation for people looking for new jobs, according to Barclay Simpson surveys. Some 43 per cent of internal auditors ranked career progression as their primary goal. 

This figure was broadly similar across compliance, security, in-house legal and risk management professionals, ranging from 40 per cent to 52 per cent. 

A better work-life balance is becoming increasingly important among employees - and not just with millennials. Fewer people believe sacrificing the time they'd like to spend on family, friends and personal pursuits for their careers is worth it. 

The desirability of flexible working arrangements is on the rise as a result, making companies that offer these perks attractive to those who feel trapped in their current roles. 

Disadvantages

While there are various benefits to switching roles, jobseekers should also consider some of the downsides. 

Frequent job-hopping on a CV may be a cause for concern for some employers. The cost of recruiting and training new staff can be considerable, so businesses will be wary of hiring people who seem to have itchy feet. 

Employees should therefore weigh up the short-term gains of a higher salary and other benefits against their long-term employability. 

Jobs may not meet expectations, leaving staff regretting the move. The grass is often greener, so applicants should thoroughly research the roles and companies they are keen to pursue. 

Recruitment consultants can help candidates match their experience, skills and career development objectives with the right vacancies. 

Job security is an important issue among employees at the moment, especially with the uncertainty surrounding Brexit. 

Switching to a new company can provide individuals with greater job security, but it could also put staff members at risk of the 'last in, first out' rule of redundancy. In other words, the most recent recruits may be targeted when job losses are on the horizon. 

How often should I change jobs?

Changing jobs too often can come across as fickle to employees, but long-term loyalty may lead to sluggish salary growth and stagnant career development. So what's the sweet spot? 

Workers currently move companies every five years on average, and they typically accept nine different jobs and undergo one complete career change during their lifetimes. 

The figures, compiled by insurance firm LV=, show that jobs for life are now virtually extinct, with just two per cent of people staying with the same employer all the way until retirement.

However, everyone's circumstances are different, making it difficult to calculate a magic number or a one-size-fits-all plan for when to move jobs. 

"It's very specific to the person. It depends on their career plans, assuming they have any career plans, and whether they feel they get the right amount of challenge and flexibility," Claire McCartney, adviser for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, told the BBC

With that in mind, is now the right time for you to switch roles? 

Talk to a recruitment consultant at Barclay Simpson to discuss your current situation and career goals. 

Our 2017 Compensation and Market Trends Report combines our review of the prevailing conditions in the corporate governance recruitment market together with the results of our latest employer survey.

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