Should You Change Jobs or Stay the Course?
Does sticking with the same firm actually hurt your financial potential?
Provided by Nick Schneider
If you spend two years or less at a series of jobs, is that a problem? Shouldn’t your resume signal loyalty instead of transience?
Well, maybe it isn’t a problem. Maybe you are doing yourself a financial favor instead, especially in this decade. Maybe the conventional wisdom about “getting ahead” is flawed. The era of the organization man/woman is long gone, and how many people do you know who have spent a decade or longer working for one employer?
Remember 5% annual raises? Chances are, your most recent raise was on the order of 2-3%. While you are keeping up with consumer prices at that rate, you may not be making up for any financial steps you took backward as a result of the recession. Even the all-stars at your firm may be getting just a 5-6% yearly raise.
Quitting to find a better wage is on the rise. In 2015, 16% of U.S. workers indicated to CareerBuilder that they were ready for a change. This year, 21% want to make a move. CareerBuilder’s Rosemary Haefner believes one reason for that rising percentage is a lack of employer investment in employees. “Whether the lack of investment is in the form of a paycheck, learning opportunities or career advancement, it often comes down to whether the employee feels valued.”1
It’s also down to the improving economy. With unemployment in down to 5%, it’s clear that hiring is happening. While that may not mean that every industry is looking for new blood, some are definitely looking for an infusion of personnel. The talent-hungry tech sector has boosted its average salary 5.3% from 2015 levels in hopes of locating qualified applicants.1
Is now the time to make your move? Five percent unemployment is approaching “full employment,” a period where the economy is getting the most out of skilled and unskilled labor. Assuming things remain on their current course, we may not see many more months where as many as 200,000 jobs are created, even as people who have stopped looking for work are drawn back into the working world. That could make this an ideal time to look upward if you are hoping to find a better-paying or more challenging job.2,3
On the other hand, there are bad times to change jobs, and U.S. News & World Report noted some of those. If you’re overworked, having interpersonal issues at the office or just bored, you can overreact; restructuring your workday or work tasks may offer a solution. If a major life event, long vacation or house hunt is just ahead, a job change may not be ideal or smart. It may not be wise if you sense that the economy (or your industry) is in line for a downturn, or if you’ve been at your job for less than a year. Lastly, a job search that coincides with the holiday season may be more prolonged than you anticipate; HR officers and managers may be more available (and less stressed) when mid-January rolls around.4
If you love what you do and are good at it, you may see no reason to change jobs. Alternately, you might reason that you could excel and love your work even more in a new environment. Consider the above-mentioned factors (and others) if you are looking for greener grass.
Nick Schneider may be reached at [email protected].
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1 – cnbc.com/2016/05/05/8-good-reasons-to-say-take-this-job-and-shove-it.html [5/6/16]
2 – investopedia.com/terms/f/fullemployment.asp 
3 – businessinsider.com/jobs-report-preview-april-2016-2016-5 [5/6/16]
4 – money.usnews.com/money/careers/slideshows/the-10-worst-times-to-switch-jobs [9/18/13]