Can job hopping boost your earnings? Or is a varied and changeable employment history a red flag to potential employers looking to invest in talent that they want to stay the distance?
According to Motion Recruitment’s IT Salary guide, 2023 will be a landmark year as global economies continue to bounce back, with technology leading the way. The past couple of years have seen the tech recruitment market face unprecedented volatility with spiraling demand combining with first the Great Resignation, then mass layoffs. One thing is certain: the rules of engagement are changing. According to LifeWorks, more than half of American employees prioritize flexible working over pay. The days of working hardest to get noticed and get promoted are behind us; instead of working harder, it is time to work smarter.
One way to climb the ladder is to look outside of your organization. While internal opportunities should not be ignored, another research claims that a job change will yield on average a 14.8% rise in salary compared to 5.8% average wage growth. The data is clear: switching jobs can help you to accelerate your earnings. However, it is not as clear cut as jumping ship when you feel like it – timing is everything.
When to switch jobs to boost your salary
The question of when it is wise to look for another job in order to boost your earnings will depend on the current job market as well as your wider industry climate and, of course, your track record.
If there is a better salary on offer – if a role becomes available to you, its attractiveness may in part depend on the salary bump. If the new role has a similar salary, there isn’t huge financial incentive to move across. It’s all about perspective. For someone on $50k or less, $5-10k might be enough incentive to go through the process of moving. However, for C-level positions, the jump may need to at least double in order to make the move worthwhile.
If it is clear you are underpaid – it is not uncommon for people who have been with the same organization for several years to realize that, although their salary has been rising, it hasn’t risen in line with the broader industry. If you feel as though you are not being paid enough, take a look at jobs similar to yours available via recruitment agencies. Armed with your evidence, you have two options: to reach out and ask for a raise to bring you in line with the industry, or to make your exit plan.
If you can prove that you are worth more – never mind what other people in similar jobs are worth. What are you worth? Do you have an exceptional track record, or a portfolio that demonstrates your ability to boost performance, ROI or profits? If by quantifying your achievements you can show that you are worth more than you are currently earning, and your current employer fails to react, there is no harm in looking elsewhere for employers that will value what you can bring them.
If you are looking for a better balance – in 2020 and beyond, salary is not the be all and end all. If you have a great job and a great salary but you are forced to live within a certain area so that you can commute to work, the grass may start to look greener on the other side. And in this era of hybrid working, there is very little reason why you can’t live on the greener side and work anywhere in the world. Flexible working is a much-valued part of an employment package and if you have the proven experience and skills to do the job, you are unlikely to have too much trouble finding an alternative role that offers you the working model that you want.
As soon as you get a promotion – it sounds callous but a great time to move onwards and upwards is when you have just received an internal promotion. Armed with a modest pay rise and a more senior title, there is no harm in looking for jobs at the next level in terms of salary as well as seniority.
Before you are pushed – if your organization is in trouble, it may be wise to look elsewhere before layoffs are made. Regardless of your caliber, being laid off isn’t great for the resume. As an insider, you should be able to see the warning signs early, and as soon as you do, it is worth seeing what else is out there and networking a little with colleagues from external organizations and employment agencies.
When not to switch jobs to boost your salary
It is not always a good idea to hop from one job to the next; there are times when security may be more valuable than a few thousand dollars.
If the entire industry is unstable – in times of economic crisis or global recession, it is hard to call who is safer: those employed by the massive corporations, or those within small organizations. While the latter is potentially more vulnerable, the former can lack the personal touch, meaning that it is easier for the Board to slash thousands of jobs without feeling the effects personally. If the industry is going through a time of turbulence, it might be best to buckle up and sit tight rather than turn yourself out into stormy seas.
Before a bonus – if your dream job comes available in February but you are due a big bonus in March, you may want to hold off making any decisions for a month or so. Before completion of a big project – if you are involved with a leading initiative, it is wise to see it to the end so that you can use its impact to demonstrate your abilities, rather than leaving former colleagues to claim credit for your work.
The decision of whether to stay or go in a job is often complex and requires careful weighing up of all of the options, including the broader question of job security and future earning potential. If you are in a role that doesn’t feel quite right for you, get in touch with a recruitment specialist; there is no harm in seeing what is out there.