Tuesday, 20 December 2016

How long should you stay with one employer?

A few months, or perhaps years, after you begin an entry-level position in tax, you’re likely to ask yourself: ‘What’s the optimum amount of time I should I stay with this organisation?’

The simple answer to this question is: ‘Stay for as long as you need to?’

According to research from McCrindle in 2014, the average Australian employee's tenure is just over three years, and those in the 25-35-year age group remain in their roles for little more than two and a half years.

While the days of starting your career and retiring at the one company may be at an end, it doesn't mean you should always scratch the two-year itch.

Consider the following factors before jumping ship:

Why are you thinking of moving to another employer?

People can tend to feel they’re stuck in a rut and may believe working for another organisation is their only escape.

They'll say they have to leave their current position because they:

  • no longer find their work challenging or enjoyable
  • don't get paid as much as they should
  • don't get along with their colleagues / don't like the company culture
  • don’t have the flexibility they need for their lifestyle
  • have decided to take their career in a different direction.

If you work for a small company, the allure of working for a big-name firm can be tempting, especially if the opportunity is accompanied by greater financial rewards.

However, you should ensure you're comfortable with the change in culture, clients and role that such a move would require. Working for a big firm looks prestigious on your resume, but there may be fewer chances to make an impact or to advance quickly, which might mean staying in a junior position for longer.

One the other hand, some employees are tempted to switch to a smaller firm where they feel they can make a difference. At the same time, they could be giving up valued benefits such as a higher salary or study and travel opportunities.

Have you done all you can at your current organisation?

In many cases, the symptoms of unrest listed above can be remedied by a change of role within your current organisation rather than leaving for another company.

Think about potential opportunities where you are. Perhaps you could join a leadership program, or extend your education?

With tenure you may also be in a better position to negotiate because you exert greater influence. As time goes by, pushing for a pay rise or for improved working conditions can become easier.

What's the opportunity cost of staying?

While the prospect of simply changing roles within your organisation can be appealing, you should also consider what you may be giving up by sticking around. This could include anything from better pay, conditions and opportunities to gaining a diversity of experience.

Starting anew may also be the easiest way to jump into a higher salary bracket, leverage beneficial working conditions, secure a new career title and expand your network.

This transforms the question of 'how long?' into a question of 'how patient are you?' and 'what will you do today to make it happen?'

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