Depending on your profession, changing jobs, or job hopping from time to time may be crucial for advancing your career. Whether your motivation is to learn new skills or because you’ve already reached your maximum potential in your current role, there are many factors to consider when looking for a new job.
But, how long should you stay in your current job and seek out new opportunities?
This article will help you understand how long you should stay in your current job, with strategies to determine when it’s time for a change and transition to a new chapter in your career.
Why Do People Leave Their Jobs?
Some decades ago, having the same job for many years was seen as a testament of trustworthiness and dedication, and employees who achieved this were held in high esteem.
However, this has changed in today’s job market. With job hopping on the rise, there are different reasons why people leave their jobs. These can include a lack of career progression, dissatisfaction with the job, or a better offer from another company. It is important to weigh the pros and cons of staying or leaving a job before making this vital decision.
Lack of Career Progression
Staying longer than three to five years in one position without a promotion can lead to job stagnation. This can cause employees to become disengaged and decrease job satisfaction. If you are ambitious and you don’t see there are growth opportunities with your current employer, it might be time to move on.
While there is no specific length of time to await a promotion, it’s generally agreed that reviewing your position after two years in the same role is a reasonable timeframe.
If employees become disengaged, this can lead to decreased motivation, lower productivity, and even affect their overall well-being. It is important to address these issues to ensure employees have a sense of purpose and engagement in their roles. Offering your team regular feedback and career development opportunities can help maintain job satisfaction.
Having the power to choose roles that align with personal interests and career goals can lead to higher job satisfaction and overall happiness.
Insufficient pay or benefits compared to industry standards or the cost of living can be a significant motivator for job change. Employees often become aware of their market value and the industry standards for their roles. As they gain more skills and experience, if their current employer does not recognise or reward their growing expertise with competitive pay raises, they may leave in pursuit of better opportunities elsewhere.
Companies that offer below-market compensation risk losing their top-performing staff which can impact the organisation’s competitiveness.
Inadequate Work-Life Balance
With hybrid and remote working on the rise, job opportunities that offer greater flexibility with flexible hours or compressed workweeks allow for a better work-life balance. Roles that demand excessive overtime, weekend work, and tight work schedules motivates employees looking for better job opportunities.
An improved work-life balance with the option to work remotely or to set flexible hours can significantly reduce stress, burnout and increase productivity.
Pros of Job Hopping/Changing your Current Job
How long you should remain at the same job within one company will depend on your career path, age, workplace environment, and level of professional experience. The idea of job hopping can be convenient when done well:
Developing Soft Skills
A CV featuring a history of multiple jobs may signal to potential employers your adaptability to new environments.
Employers understand that each transition to a new company involves forming new relationships and learning new skills. Unless your tenures were exceptionally short, having held multiple roles is evidence of your strong people skills and how you’ve built a valuable network of contacts.
These and other similar soft skills are highly valued by employers, as they see that you can swiftly integrate into their teams and become a productive member of their team. Of course, employers will still assess your hard skills and relevant experience.
Having these soft skills is indispensable when landing for positions in marketing or finance, as these industries demand strong interpersonal and communication skills.
Potential Salary Increase
Although receiving a promotion within your current company can lead to a salary increase, it's often the case that job hopping is the most effective means of achieving a substantial salary boost. According to the latest ONS data from 2021, people who changed roles and industries had a 12.4% increase in salary on average. Those who moved to a different company but stayed in the same industry also saw an increase with an 8% rise in income.
Gaining Transferable Skills
Moving between different roles and organisations allows people to acquire a broader range of skills and experiences, boosting their overall skills and adaptability. This will demonstrate your adaptability to new environments through exposure to diverse responsibilities and industries. Not only that, changing jobs entails different challenges, showing problem-solving skills as people resolve a variety of issues across various roles.
One of the reasons why people leave their jobs is related to the lack of career progression. Changing jobs can lead to quicker career advancement, as people may move into higher-level positions more rapidly than if they remained with the same employer and they often have the advantage of negotiating higher salaries when transitioning to new roles.
Starting a new job often comes with fresh challenges, keeping work engaging and preventing the stagnation that can occur with long-term positions.
Cons of Changing Your Current Job/Job Hopping
Changing your job can come with its drawbacks too. Losing benefits such as retirement plans and generous pension packages, the potential stigmatisation to recruiters, and the stress associated with the process of changing jobs are some of the disadvantages that come with job hopping.
Lost Benefits and Perks
Each time you change jobs, you lose all the employee benefits you've accrued in your current position, including pension plans, remaining holiday days and retirement income. If you change jobs frequently, you may lose the opportunity to accumulate additional paid leave days.
In terms of retirement income, frequent job changes can lead to fragmented pension contributions. Each employer's pension scheme may have different terms and investment strategies. As a consequence, job hoppers may have multiple pension pots, making it harder to track and manage retirement savings effectively.
Potential Red Flag for Recruiters
Recruiters and hiring managers may view excessive job changes as a red flag on a resume, causing them to question an individual's commitment and reliability. Training someone who only sticks around as soon as they learn a few new skills can be expensive for companies.
Employers generally prefer candidates who demonstrate job stability. Having three jobs in a span of five years should be the upper limit on your CV. Employers are often hesitant to invest in individuals who come across as unreliable and struggle to establish long-term commitments in their roles.
Frequent Probationary Periods
Every time you start a new job, you'll typically undergo a probationary period, regardless of the level of expertise from previous years of service. This can be quite exhausting, as your skills will be tested again and often accompanied by a workload higher than usual—this is one of the factors contributing to many employees leaving within a few months of starting their new roles.
Limited Job Stability
Frequent job changes can result in a lack of job stability, making it difficult to establish a long-term career path with one employer. This instability may lead to financial insecurity and uncertainty.
While job hopping may lead to promotions in the short term, it can hinder long-term career advancement, as people may not stay with one employer long enough to climb the corporate ladder.
Should I Stay in My Current Job?
So, how long should you stay in your current job? There's no fixed timeframe dictating how long you should stay in a job, but, if you feel that your life is stagnant, perhaps it's time to consider a job or career change. Embracing change can be exciting and inject a fresh sense of enthusiasm into your life. Switching jobs doesn't just alter your workload; it introduces a new commute, colleagues, and daily routines.
Looking for a career change? Morgan Philips provides expert services in specialist recruitment, executive search functions, and talent consulting for a range of clients across the UK. You can also explore our job search function to find the perfect role for you.
Get in touch with our team to discuss your next role today.