Gone are the days of working in a company from education to retirement. The world of work is changing and with most of us having to work years beyond the previous generations, having a string of jobs, sometimes a string of careers, has become the norm. The myth that you need to stick to a job for a set amount of years in order to seem ‘reliable’ has been bust Switching jobs is now seen as a smart move, and one that makes you appear flexible and in demand.
In fact, new research suggests that job switchers - those that move every one to two years - are likely to earn more than those who stay put with the same company. Think tank, The Resolution Foundation, found that growth for workers moving jobs has risen to the highest levels for more than a decade, according to The Guardian. They found that those who stayed in their current job could expect a pay increase of 2.5% while those who switched could see their salary rise by 11%.
“I’ve switched jobs four times in the last eight years in order to increase my career prospects and boost my salary,” Sarah, 36, a Business Development Manager from Hull told Grazia. “In my first sales job I was earning £14,500 but thanks to three job switches I’m now in a role where I earn £36,000 plus commission and the use of a company car.”
While women are often brandished as poor negotiators when it comes to agreeing wages (a Glassdoor survey found that 68% of women accepted their first salary offer versus 52% of men), Sarah highlighted it was the companies she worked for holding her back. “I found that during the interview stage I was guaranteed progression and salary raises but despite pushing for these from my bosses they never actually transpired.”
Similarly, taking on short-term temporary contracts can also fast-track your salary. For example, Michelle, 30, now a HR Manager based in London, managed to transition from an unpaid intern to a HR executive earning £28,000 in just 14 months. Michelle found that the opportunity to regularly negotiate her salary worked to her advantage. “Jumping between temporary contracts taught me resilience and how to know my own worth. I learned to negotiate my salary and be confident in turning down opportunities that weren’t offering me enough.”
It’s not only in the private sector where this career trajectory can work to your advantage. Linda, 34, a teacher from Manchester found that taking on maternity or one-year contracts helped her move up the pay scale, even in a sector where salary is very structured. “I quickly realised I didn't have to accept a lower pay just because my experience involved job hopping or stints of supply work. Temporary roles can be less competitive which often puts you in the position of power at the negotiating stage. I would ask to be ‘paid to scale’, and if this wasn’t offered I would turn the role down,” Linda said. This constant hustle of a finding a new contract also helps keep you on your toes, and squash any sense of complacency. “I think often in a permanent role it’s easy to get comfortable and for your manager to take you for granted,” Michelle said.
Jobs switching can also be used a bargaining tool with your current employer. Lucy, 29, a Account Director based in Guildford applies the ‘two-year rule’ when considering her next career move. “If I haven’t got a significant promotion within two years of working somewhere I look for something new,” she said. When her company told her she wasn’t ready to be promoted from Manager to Director she looked to roles within competitor agencies. “I was offered a Director role and a £10,000 increase in the pay by another company. When I told my current company they proposed a counter-offer and a £15,000 raise and the Director role they’d previously shunned me for.”
"While I ended up taking the new job as a I wanted a fresh start, this experience taught me the importance of not just settling. You're always one switch away from a better job, and a bigger salary."