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How Long Should You Stay in a Job?

16 Apr 2018
Lynsey Taylor

The Right Time to Change Jobs

There is a trend developing in recruitment that shows people are changing jobs more frequently than they did in the past. This can be attributed to a number of different factors. Primarily, the stigma around ‘job hopping’ is becoming a thing of the past. The economy is not as strong as it once was and the nature of work (including the rise of part time work and the gig economy) has fundamentally changed, meaning job security and permanence cannot be assumed. There is also a growing notion that changing jobs every three to five years can be beneficial for both your career and your personal development.

According to research from the life insurance company LV= a UK worker will, on average, change jobs every five years. Obviously, this can be affected by numerous factors; your personal circumstances, business circumstances outwith your control, and so on. It can also be affected by the kind of job you are in. Smaller companies may not offer many opportunities for progression, similarly larger companies’ progression strategies may take too long for your liking. Advice from the CIPD suggests that there’s no such thing as the “right amount” of time to spend in a job, only that a minimum tenure of three months is advisable.

In my experience, changing jobs every three to five years can have the following benefits:

  • You’ll (hopefully) be moving up the pay scale with each new position;
  • You’ll adapt to new environments and, in the process, develop new skills;
  • You’ll develop new relationships and professional connections; and
  • You’ll experience different working environments, which is valuable professional experience.

This change in the nature of work raises some interesting questions about the best approach to a career. How long should an employee stay in a job? When is the right time to leave? Should you stay in a job longer for the benefit of your CV?

There’s no strict right or wrong answer to these questions. It’s important to remember that if a job is making you unhappy it’s very unlikely that it’s worth sticking with it. Staying in a job you don’t like can have serious implications for your mental health and you’re probably not going to be at your best professionally. Staying in a job that affects you in this way just for the sake of your CV will be counterproductive in the long run. Having said that, if you find yourself in a position where you frequently change jobs after a few months you will need to consider how that may look to potential employers.

Changing your job every few years can have a range of benefits to your career and well-being, as long as you balance your progression with looking reliable and dedicated to the job you have a the time. If you’re looking for a change of career, or if you’d like to chat about recruitment in general, please upload your CV to our website or get in touch.

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