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“Will it look like I’ve jumped around if I change jobs now?”

This is a question I hear daily, and interestingly, it’s often the professionals who have clearly not ‘jumped around’ that ask me this.

Accurate data on average tenure within finance is surprisingly hard to come by, and it varies dramatically within each discipline. Here are my thoughts, drawn from years of working with a diverse range of clients…

Up until recently, I would advise professionals to envision a minimum 3-year horizon when considering a new position. This means spending 3 years in their current role, without a promotion or an internal move, before contemplating a switch. Historically, if I placed someone in a role and they received positive feedback from a client and stayed for over 3 years, I’d regard it as a successful placement and pat myself on the back. However…

The post-COVID years have seen a booming job market across finance and technology sectors. Honestly speaking, often the best way for professionals to advance and secure a significant salary increase has been to switch positions. I know several professionals who have changed organisations twice in the past few years, achieving over a 50% increase in salary and several steps up the seniority ladder. This isn’t sustainable, though, and in my experience, frequently moving jobs over a short period can be detrimental to someone’s career. Clients will understandably question a candidate’s loyalty when considering them for a potential role.

I mentioned 3 years, but this benchmark may be shifting. I’ve read that the average tenure for Gen Z in technology is 20 months, and I believe there are clear generational differences in expectations regarding tenure, affecting both employees and employers.

My advice to the professionals we assist is not to miss out on genuine opportunities for career advancement. However, be cautious of how frequent job changes might be perceived by future employers. Many of us have made a less-than-ideal career move at some point; staying in a position for a short time once in a while won’t necessarily be viewed negatively. But a pattern of several short tenures over a brief period will almost certainly raise red flags for companies looking to hire.

I recognise that this is an emotive and subjective topic, but given its such a common discussion, I’d love to hear other people’s opinions.

Andrew Murphy – Director