As the UK continues to recover from the economic downturn, professionals appear even more keen to broaden their horizons. During the recession, uncertainty over job security and reduced availability of new roles led to many professionals choosing to stay put with their current employer. But with the economy rebounding strongly, the trend for changing jobs is seemingly being exaggerated.
Research conducted by Robert Half reveals 49 per cent of UK employers have seen an increase in voluntary turnover recently - with more employees looking to move to another organisation. And as employers look to build their headcounts in order to position themselves for growth, there are opportunities for people to move around.
Why change jobs?
Individuals may have different motives for changing jobs. But in general terms, they are looking advance their career, and improve their pay and/or conditions. Sometimes the best way to achieve this is to apply for a role with another organisation, particularly if opportunities are limited with your current employer.
But how do you know when it is the right time to look for a new career opportunity? This varies from individual to individual, according to their professional goals, ambitions and general life priorities. However there are certain signs which suggest the time may be right to consider moving - here are some of the most common:
1. Failure to learn and develop
If you feel you are no longer gaining new skills and experience - and are able to perform your job blindfolded - then you may be ready for a new challenge. Your current job may be easy, but in the long term this is likely to create frustration. Unless you target a more senior role, you may find it difficult to significantly increase your level of pay - or job satisfaction.
A failure to gain new skills or experience over an extended period of time can leave a hole in your CV - one you may have to explain to a hiring manager at interview. They may be interested to know why you have stayed in a role that does not properly suit you - or push you.
2. Pay stagnation
Do you feel like you are giving more and more to your employer, but receiving little back in return? Many organisations are continuing to operate pay freezes, despite the UK economy returning to growth. If you are still earning the same amount as two or three years ago, it might be that you are under-selling your professional services.
Consulting the annual Robert Half Salary Guide will offer insight into how much you could - or should - be earning in your chosen role. The guide provides the average salary ranges, including projected salary inflation, skills in demand and industry trends.
You can see how much the top earners in your profession are earning and then assess where you fit in on the spectrum. If your current employer is paying you at the low end of the salary bracket for your role, moving to another organisation could well lead to an increase in earnings.
3. Difficulties with management
If you find it difficult to see eye-to-eye with your boss, this can make your working life more difficult. Where there are genuine, unresolvable tensions, impacting on your job satisfaction and performance, leaving your current employment may be the best for both parties.
Is your boss giving you the support and resources you require to do your job properly? Are they taking credit for your achievements? Do you feel as if you are being micro-managed at every step? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, it could be a sign that the time is right to change jobs.
4. Your employer is inflexible
At times in your career, you may require additional flexibility in order to balance your work and personal life. If, for instance, you have a young family and childcare commitments, it may be necessary for you to customise your hours. The same applies if you have a long commute into work each day - is it viable to work from home some of the time? This can help reduce the travel and cost burden.
Some employers will be all-too-willing to accommodate flexible working requests, while others will not. As a professional, it makes sense to assess how much this is a priority for you. If your employer's stance is making life difficult for you - or more troublesome than it needs to be - it could be time to consider your options.
5. You've been headhunted
If you receive a call from a recruitment agency inviting you to apply for a particular role, then why not take the opportunity? Employers often consult with agencies in a bid to find the ideal candidate for jobs - particularly where the initial applications for the role are not up to scratch.
Recruiters have wide knowledge of the talent pool, and may be able to suggest particular individuals who would be a good fit for the organisation. If they have proposed you for the role, take this as a compliment - and also as a sign that you could be successful at interview.
Being headhunted for a role puts professionals in a strong negotiating position when it comes to pay and benefits. If the employer is looking to hire in this way, it is clear they have a strong demand for the skills you are capable of providing. As such, they may be willing to pay a premium to secure your services.
6. Your organisation is struggling
If your organisation has issued a profits warning, is closing sites or making people redundant, consider whether it is in your long term interests to remain in your job. Should the company go bust, you may not only find yourself out of work, but end up losing out financially.
Claims can be made for redundancy, up to eight weeks' wages, statutory notice pay, unpaid pensions contributions and basic awards for unfair dismissal through the government’s National Insurance Fund. But there are no guarantees you will receive everything your employer owes you.
7. You need a career change
Sometimes your career runs away with you somewhat - you end up working in a role that either you don't enjoy, or one that does not properly utilise your skills. The question is, how long are you prepared to do something with little or no intrinsic reward?
Seeking out a new role with a different employer may allow you to benefit financially and personally. Pecuniary rewards aside, if you derive greater enjoyment from coming in to work each day, this is as good a reason as any to target a career change.