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How Long Is Too Long To Stay In One Job?

It's an interesting question to ask and something that I am asked all the time. In all honesty, it really depends on the industry, development of roles and an individual’s aspirations.

As a recruitment professional, I am impressed when I see a candidate in this region staying in a company for longer than 4/5 years. Day in and day out we see candidates (especially with recent pandemics et al) job hopping after a year, 6 months even and having a multitude of companies under their belt. In all fairness, it is not always the candidates’ fault, but I always recommend to anyone who has a ‘hoppy’ CV to try and create longevity in roles to balance it out. Employers scan over CVs and often do not get into the nitty-gritty of why someone left so having three years plus in positions regularly throughout your career would create a stronger foundation for job searching.

I remember in the early days of my career in the UK candidates who had stayed in roles for long durations (ten years plus) of time would be pigeonholed with the long duration often seen as a weakness. I think that’s quite different here up until a point. If a candidate has stayed in the same company for lengthy periods i.e., twenty-plus years, it does make it more difficult to persuade prospective employers that they are adaptable and easy to mold. But then again it also shows a candidate is loyal and has endurance which is very appealing, especially at a more senior level.

I have seen more transient talent than ever since I moved to this region ten years ago and I would say 90% of candidates we call with opportunities are ready to listen. It's a rarity that someone says they are happy in their job role. Whenever anyone tells me they are happy in their job I always reply to them that I am happy to hear that, and I genuinely am.

I think the main question here really is about how long someone stays in the same job role without being given any additional responsibilities or development opportunities. This would often raise a question of why this person has not been promoted and is there a problem with their performance. If you found yourself overlooked for promotions or salary uplifts after achieving great things for an organisation that’s where I think you should probably ask yourself “is it time to look to see what else is out there?”. There are of course ways around this and if you love your job, you can always speak to HR or management and build a case of why you need the additional salary, bonus, or bigger job title.

A progressive CV where someone has moved up the ladder within a business every two – three years or so with various titles and bigger responsibilities would be more attractive to a potential employer than someone who stayed in the same job role in the same company for long stints. This is something that should always be clearly highlighted in a CV to show the evolution.

At the end of the day culture plays a big part and if you feel appreciated, if you are living your life’s purpose, and love what you do then this is your prerogative of how long you stay in an organisation. I know if I was valued, and I was excited to go to work every day I would never leave a company and that’s perfectly fine!


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