How Long Should You Stay in a Job?

How long should you stay in a job? It’s an increasingly common question we’re hearing as attitudes to ‘job hopping’ continue to shift.

According to research, 20% of employees across FTSE businesses only spend between one and two years in a single role.

Likewise, more than 1-in-10 people have never stayed with the same employer for longer than 12 months. 

We’re increasingly seeing modern professionals move between positions in an effort to find new challenges, improve their salary or continue developing their skill set. So how long should you stay in a job?

How long should you stay in a job role?

Ultimately, the answer to this question depends on your individual disposition, circumstances and what you’re looking to achieve.

The average employee spends three years in a role but it should be noted that one out of five employees don’t stay with an employer for more than two years – a number that is increasing rapidly.

A marker that many people use for moving is position and title. Workers often push for promotions as that directly results in a salary increase and the prestige of a better title. If a promotion isn’t on the cards or there’s little room for development, it might be worth considering a new job role.

How long you spend in a role may also be dictated by the work environment. Businesses are increasingly focusing on maintaining a strong company culture as this largely dictates how well they retain talent. If you enjoy the role, the people you work with and feel like the culture is positive, it might be worth holding fire on making a switch.

But how long should you stay in a role generally? There’s no specific rules but the general consensus is that two to three years is a good amount of time. This allows you to establish or expand a network, develop relevant experience, build your skill set and demonstrate a level of commitment to the business you’re working for. Finally, two years is also a reasonable length of time to start considering advancement – whether that’s a promotion or a move to a similar role in a larger company with more benefits.

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Should you regularly move jobs?

It’s becoming increasingly common for professionals to move between roles in an effort to find new challenges. The thought process is, if you move between roles, you give yourself the opportunity to build your market worth, develop experience across different settings or industries and ultimately, give yourself the best chance to advance your career.

It’s important to remember that some employers – particularly those with a more traditional viewpoint – may view ‘job hopping’ as a negative trait. While the wider culture is still shifting in favour of regularly having new roles, there are still potential drawbacks.

Some employers may be less inclined to invest resources in you as they feel you’ll be moving and it’s a waste. This could ultimately hinder your career development, so always consider your own intuition and whether it’s actually worth staying over the long-term.

What to think about before you leave a role

If you’re in the middle of a job search or thinking about leaving a job, always take the time to ask yourself some important questions: 

Am I leaving for the right reason?

Before you leave, ask yourself if you’re doing it for the right reason. For example, you don’t want to move purely for a better salary when it might be a wasted move in the future. Remember to consider how a career move might align with your goals and whether you can make your existing job situation better – this usually takes less effort.

Will moving jobs support your career advancement?

Generally, you only want to move roles if it’s going to positively impact your career. If you feel there’s no more room for development, you’re not motivated to work or you’re not in line for a promotion, it might be time to move. That said, if you’re offered a new role for more money but there’s no opportunity for future development, is it worth it? You want to make sure you’re moving for long-term advancement.

How are you going to go about moving roles?

A question you should ask yourself before any job search is how are you going to approach moving roles? Do you have a role lined up? Are you looking for a new job while in your current job? What exactly are you looking for and which work culture is a natural fit for you? 

This is where a recruitment partner can be so useful. A recruitment agency can offer experience and market knowledge that would otherwise not be available to you, vastly improving your chances of success. By working with a recruitment partner, you’re much more likely to find a sustainable, long-lasting placement.

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