Should I Stay Or Should I Go? Moving Employers

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As a professional in Higher Education you may face a dilemma at some point in your career.  Should you stay with your present employer or should you strike out to pursue new opportunities elsewhere? And what might be the effect on your long term career development ? We help you weigh up the pro’s and con’s and examine the implications of each path.

Reasons for Staying

1.       Reputation

Don’t underestimate the value of the reputation you have built up with your present employer. You may have spent years building up your track record, proving that you can deliver results and building relationships with colleagues. Not having to prove yourself constantly can be liberating and can give you credibility and access to higher quality work. Although in some fields (like academia) your professional reputation will transcend a particular institution , for most people moving employers means having to build your reputation all over again.

 2.      Promotion Opportunities

As a known quantity with a proven track record, you are more likely to be considered for promotion even when you may not closely fit the normal selection criteria for a post. You may be offered opportunities , such as secondments, acting up for your boss ,covering maternity leave, or moving into a related career area which are not normally open to external applicants with your level of experience. And you are far more likely to hear and be approached about these opportunities if you are in situ, as many are never advertised.

 3.       Work Life Balance

Starting a fresh role with a new employer can be a steep learning curve as you familiarise yourself with a different environment and new systems. Once you are familiar with your employer’s way of working and your jobrole , it is easier to leave the office on time and work more family friendly hours. Consider whether you are prepared to put more hours and energy into your work for a short period in order to facilitate a move. An employer is also more likely to consider flexible or part time working for employees with long service.  

 4.       Established Networks

As well as the camaraderie of familiar colleagues, you will benefit from having built up extensive networks of contacts within and outside your  department. This can make working life easier, as you know who to approach to get things done and you are likely to have more influence within the organisation. Moving employers means you will have to invest time in building networks in your new workplace.

Reasons for Going 

1.        Broader Experience

Having a number of different institutions on your CV can make you more marketable to employers , who value breadth of knowledge across the sector and flexibility. The more senior the position, the more crucial this is, especially for non-academic posts. This is true even of sideways moves, although it is likely that a change of employer will be accompanied by an increase in seniority too.

2.        Job Satisfaction

It is easy to become stale when you have worked for the same employer for a long time. Moving to a fresh environment , working with new colleagues and taking on the challenge of a new role can reinvigorate you and help you enjoy your job again.  This is likely to have a positive impact on your job performance too.

3.         Clean Slate

When you move employers, you have an opportunity to reinvent yourself. This can help you move away from less satisfying areas of work where you may have become a reluctant expert . You can also build a reputation more in tune with how you would like to be viewed.

4.         Negotiating Power

As an external appointment, it is likely that your new employer is anxious to secure your services and entice you to move (after all, they were unable to find a suitable internal candidate). Your new employers may be willing to be flexible in terms of salary and benefits .You are also well placed to negotiate a job role, working hours and training opportunities for which you have always longed.

Of course, all these factors apply to a lesser extent when you consider a move within your institution.

If you are seriously considering a move, it is often worthwhile to have a chat with your present employer about your thinking. It is surprisingly common for employers to discover promotion opportunities, agree to enhance a jobrole or become more flexible in salary and benefits when faced with the loss of a valued employee. Your negotiating power is enhanced when you are in possession of a job offer from a rival institution, although a good employer will welcome the opportunity to discuss your ideas and concerns before you reach that point.

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