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Changing jobs: When, why and how?

Representational image. Courtesy: Economic Times Representational image. Courtesy: Economic Times

Shifting job is a common practice among the white collar job holders. While one has to go through significant changes after switching workplace, employers have to invest quite a lot for new employees as well.

So what are the opinions of employees and employers about job shifting? Is it good or bad?

Frustration with offerings

Abid Ahmed (pseudonym) is a fresh graduate working for a renowned private company. Even though he acquired the job in his desired organisation, he is disillusioned by the reality of the job market and became dissatisfied with his current position.

“After a few months (only), I became dissatisfied with my job because of the workload I faced and the hours wasted commuting to my office. But I have to stick with my current job now as switching jobs is challenging as a fresh graduate and I need enough experience before resigning and joining another,” he said.

Farhan Mashuk is an Economics graduate at the University of Dhaka and currently working as a senior research officer at Bangladesh Foreign Trade Institute (BFTI). He supports the statement of Abid regarding hiring.

“The mismatch between the reservation wage and the offered salary is common in the job market. In most cases, new graduates are often disappointed by the offered compensation in the entry-level posts,” Mr Mashuk explains the reason behind getting frustrated soon.

As a seasoned employee, Mr Mashuk speaks from his experience of shifting jobs, “From the beginning, I wanted to pursue a career in economic research, but I faced hurdles in managing my desired position due to a lack of experience.”

“My first job was in a renowned business association, where my responsibility was to conduct secondary research. After working for several months, I finally managed the opportunity to join a public think tank (Bangladesh Foreign Trade Institute) as a researcher, where my first job experience helped a lot to secure the position.”

He suggests that young professionals should be cautious regarding financial benefits offered by the employer or organisations. In his opinion, the annual increment in the entry-level positions is not good enough in most cases. In this context, switching jobs or getting a promotion raises the salary straight away.

An employer’s take on the matter

But what does an employer think about the reasons employees leave their current jobs?

Mohammad Imdadul Islam is a veteran in the banking industry for over 28 years and currently holds the position of Managing Director and CEO of GSP Finance Company (Bangladesh) Limited.

According to him, a new employee usually decides to change jobs 3-5 years after being hired, depending on the role and experience.

“The indicators behind the notion are - losing excitement about coming to work and the level of contentment declining, personal and family life being affected by the high-stress level of work, ideas and contributions not being valued, the compensation package not covering the cost of living and lastly, regularly imagining having a different job or career,” the veteran points out the conditions upon which one should consider changing job.

Before changing jobs, Mr. Islam suggests a few aspects for the employees, "You should strive to achieve your personal career goals as they represent your aspirations at work. If keeping your current job could lead to the next step in your desired career path, you might want to consider staying in it.”

“Job satisfaction also plays a vital role as an employee could decide to change his job when he doesn’t achieve a certain level of satisfaction in his current workplace.”

Professional development opportunities help employees gain upward mobility at work and get better recruiting offers.

“Companies often offer training sessions, courses, and webinars to help their employees grow their interpersonal and technical abilities. Professional development and regular feedback reflect a company's ability to support and invest in its employees,” he added.

If you aren’t receiving helpful training or constructive feedback, it may take longer for you to reach your professional potential and feel under-supported.

Balance between work and personal life

Work-life balance is one of the significant factors an employee should consider before changing jobs. The veteran continues, “The Work-life balance represents the amount of time and energy a person spends on work and work-related tasks compared to the time and energy they can spend in their personal life.”

“Forty hours of work per week is typical of full-time jobs. If someone's total commute is less than an hour per workday, they have a little over 120 hours for rest, leisure, and fulfilling personal obligations each week. If you are experiencing long hours or long commuting times, your work-life balance may suffer,” he explained.

The overall culture at work should be inclusive, supportive, and team-oriented. When a work environment is less than ideal, it can leave people feeling left out or undervalued, believes Mr Islam.

“It would be best to look out for the employee turnover rate, representing the rate of people leaving the company. A higher-than-average turnover rate can indicate an unstable workplace, far from being an ideal work environment,” he narrated.

Focus on skills

Even though a company has to spend resources to find new employees, the occurrence is prevalent in a free-market economy and employers accept it positively.

“When a person feels that his contribution is not valued, underpaid, or visualises a lack of career growth, he may shift to another job. Sometimes, a person’s knowledge and skills are underutilised in his present place of work; therefore, he should change his career to achieve his desired professional growth.”

“Employees shifting to a new workplace carry diversified skills and knowledge with them, which may contribute to the goals of the new workplace,” Mr. Islam remarked.

But is job shifting well for the company’s well-being? In Mr. Islam’s opinion, the result is a two-edged sword.

A company might lose or gain an advantage depending on the personnel’s skill. If the person leaving the company possesses rare skills, a shortage of such professionals in the sector is a loss for the company.

In other cases, the company itself wants employees drawing fat compensation packages to leave and be replaced by persons with similar skills with lesser benefits, which reduces the cost for the company. This practice happens when there is an abundant supply of required professionals.

Thus, employees should consider several factors before shifting jobs and evaluating their skills and experiences.

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