It seems that over the festive season and with a new year looming, people reflect on what they have done in the last year and what they would like to achieve in the next 12 months. Is now a good time to change job?

Uncertainty over the economic climate often leads to people staying with their current employer because they are worried about job security. But with unemployment at an all-time low, employees feel more confident to spread their wings and seek out a new role in another organisation.

There are plenty of opportunities for moving around as employers look to bolster their teams in order to position themselves for growth (or for the fall out of Brexit-related crises … depending on who you talk to).

Why change jobs?

People change jobs for different reasons. Usually, it’s to get a better salary, improved conditions, advance their career, or a combination of all three. If opportunities are limited within your current organisation, the best way to achieve this is to apply for a role with another organisation.

When is the right time to look for a new career opportunity?

This depends on your ambitions, goals, and general life priorities. However some of the common signs which suggest the time may be right to consider moving are:

Your company is in trouble
Is it in your long term interests to remain in your job if your organisation is making people redundant or has issued a profit warning? Perhaps now is the time to look for a more positive working environment. It’s a financially risky time if the company goes into receivership – you could find yourself out of a job AND you may not receive everything your employer owes you.

Your salary hasn’t increased
If you are still earning the same amount as two or three years ago, it might be that you are under-selling yourself. Or it could be that you are working harder and longer than before, but not being financially rewarded because of a company-wide pay freeze.

Lack of development
If you are able to perform your job with your eyes closed and feel you are not gaining any new skills then you may be ready for a new challenge. Your current job may be easy, but a lack of new skills or experience over an extended period of time can be obvious on your CV. This will certainly be a discussion point with a prospective new employer … They will be interested to know why you have stayed in a role that does not challenge you.

Management issues
Micromanagement, lack of support and resources, other people taking credit for your achievements … these are all signs that the time might be right to change jobs. If you don’t see eye-to-eye with your boss, it will be impossible to operate at your best. Where there are genuine, unresolvable tensions, which impact on your job satisfaction and performance, leaving your current employment will be the best for both parties.

Lack of flexibility
We all require additional flexibility in order to balance our work and personal life from time to time. Family or childcare commitments can require regular or occasional time out from ‘normal’ working hours. Similarly, if you have a difficult commute into work – can you work from home some of the time? This will help reduce your stress levels and usually it improves your output – be that quantity, quality or both! Some employers are very accommodating when it comes to flexible working, while others are not. You need to work out how much of a priority this is for you. If your employer’s stance is making life difficult for you, it is time to consider your options.

You’ve been headhunted
If you receive an approach for a particular role, then why not take the opportunity to listen what is on offer? Can this role develop your career or improve your circumstances – money, life / work balance? Will it lead to a logical next career step? At a time where talent is in short supply, being headhunted for a role puts you in a strong negotiating position.

You’re stuck in a rut
Occasionally there are times that you just do not enjoy the work you do anymore and you cannot see a way forward in the sector or the kind of roles that you operate in. The question is, how long are you prepared to do something with little or no intrinsic reward? Seeking out a different role with a different employer in a different sector, albeit a bit scary, will energise you. It could be beneficial financially and it certainly will be on a personal level. If you feel happier coming in to work each day, then that is as good a reason as any to make a career change.

Having had two careers, I can vouch for that!

As always, I’m happy to chat through your options. Call me!

Maarten Jonckers

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