Wait For a Promotion or Change Companies? Which is Better For Your Career?

Posted on Tuesday, December 18th, 2018 by

At this time of year, some of us start to wonder if it is time to move to pastures new to advance our careers, but is it better to stay where you are and work towards a promotion, or move to a new company altogether? If salary is the only thing that matters to you, moving jobs regularly can mean you could potentially earn as much as 50% more over the length of your career than if you stayed put. This is mainly because organisations generally spend more on attracting talent, than they do retaining it, and it is easier to negotiate a salary with people you don’t know, rather than your boss who you may have known for years.


Advancing your career is not always just about salary though. More responsibility or a senior job title can be just as important. But these things can be achieved by staying put and moving on, so how do you decide? Asking yourself these questions might help:


  • What was it that started you thinking about a new job?
  • Do you often get bored at work and watch the clock?
  • Does your job create unnecessary stress and anxiety?
  • Are you itching to do something else?
  • Do you admire/like/hate your boss?
  • Is there anything else you might miss about your current job?
  • How important is the social side of a company to you?
  • What exactly are you looking for in a new job that you have no chance of getting where you are now?
  • How important is a big salary increase to you?
  • How seriously does your current company take personal development and wellbeing? How easy is it to access training?
  • How important is job location to you? Would you mind having to commute longer or move home for a new job?
  • Imagine receiving that letter offering you a new job. How do you think you will really feel then?


Hopefully, you now feel a little clearer about your motives, but whether staying or going, deciding on your minimum salary needs is probably the first thing to address. But, if you haven’t moved roles for a while, how do you know what salary to ask for when applying for a new role, or when pushing for a pay rise? Glassdoor have an excellent salary review page which is a great place to start, but bear in mind they can vary regionally and between industries. There can also be a cyclical talent shortage and wages tend to go up when there is a perceived shortage, so if you move then, based on a lucrative offer, you might find salaries may well stagnate later on when the shortage if filled, making it harder to move the next time around.


A couple of other things to consider before making a move is the risk that changing jobs too often can look suspicious on your CV and reflect badly on you. Some employers will view regular changes negatively and question loyalty and commitment. But how often, is too often? To a certain extent, it depends on the industry, but two years before moving on, is generally acceptable and won’t raise eyebrows.


During a recession, businesses may freeze their payroll and decrease salaries to the newly hired based on “market trends.” Of course, this reaction is understandable and to be expected, but what you need to watch out for is that the “temporary” suppression of wage rates becomes normal and even when the recession is over, it is used as a good excuse to keep salaries low.


It is easy to think of as many reasons to stay where you are, as there are to jump ship and start afresh and we list them here, but only some will resonate with you and should help weight the list in a way that helps you decide.


Why you should stay: 

  • You’re demonstrating loyalty which could pay dividends in the future.
  • Your CV looks consistent and shows a steady, well thought out career progression.
  • You’re more likely to get promoted where you’re well known and have a trusted track record.
  • Moving is stressful and the promises made at a job offer may not be followed through.
  • Your company’s ‘softer’ benefits are worth staying for e.g. culture, commute, benefits etc.


Why you should move on:

  • Your salary could increase up to 50% more than those that stayed if you move often enough.
  • Climbing the career ladder is quicker and easier.
  • Opportunities to broaden your skill set and experience are far greater.
  • If you love a challenge, move on.
  • You’re unhappy where you are and there is no prospect of improving the situation.


One of the hardest benefits of work to quantify, yet arguably the most important factor in the pursuit of happiness in the workplace is the company culture and values. It is easy to take for granted how much your current organisation reflects your own values, and to only realise once you have moved, that not all companies are as caring.


After considering your options carefully, what you do next has to be a personal choice and what feels right. But before you move, try talking your concerns through with your current boss, explaining you are considering a move and why, and see what happens. It might be all it takes to make your boss realise that they don’t want to lose you and find a way to improve the situation for you. If they don’t, well maybe that answers the question for you – time to move on!


At Chapple, we specialize in sourcing candidates in external and internal communications, employee engagement, change and business transformation roles.

Contact us on 020 7734 8209 for more information about how we can help you find your next role, or indeed, find the right people for your business.