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How soon is too soon to change employers as a Financial Services professional?

Tags: blog, Financial Services

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By Colin Lloyd

A generation ago, a career in insurance (and the wider financial services industry) came with the unspoken guarantee of a job for life, and was seen as a safe bet in achieving long-term security and progression within one organisation. That was then, and the financial services landscape has since changed beyond recognition.

While navigating a career path within the wider financial services sector certainly requires a great deal of careful consideration and planning, one all-important question remains: How often should a professional change employers in order to progress on a professional level?

In this blog, I investigate how long you should stay within one company, and whether it could be time for you to make your next move!

Shifting away from the 'Job-for-Life' career path

Research by life insurance firm LV, reveals that the average UK employee will change jobs approximately every five years. In addition, a recent CIPD study confirms that at any one time 25 percent of employees will be actively seeking a new role, suggesting that the overall working population tends to change jobs every four years.

Given the above statistics, it’s fair to say that this collective shift in career span has rendered the ‘job-for-life’ prospect all but obsolete. More professionals are coming to the realisation that changing jobs every few years serves to demonstrate their level of ambition, drive and a strong desire to improve skills and experience – all attributes known to catch the eye of employers in the job market.

But is it possible to change jobs too frequently, and subsequently give off the impression that you are a flighty candidate who is unable to commit or settle?

If you have decided to pursue a new role within a different company, you need to let future employers know that you aren’t a fly-by-night candidate. As such, you should demonstrate in your CV the reasons for every job move you have made throughout your work history, whether it was to expand your knowledge, challenge your ability to learn new skills or even just to be nearer to family. In doing this, you should also state the specific reasons for your next step.

How soon is too soon?

To answer this question, you as an individual need to evaluate what you want out of your career, and how you hope to progress on a professional level. This means that in determining your next career move, you shouldn’t focus primarily on how long you have been employed in the same company, but rather what you have achieved and how you have progressed throughout your time working there.

If you leave your current employer after a short period of time only to do the exact same job in a different company, then you could be perceived as flighty and unreliable. Equally, if you spend too much time in one company without progressing through the ranks, then you may come across as unambitious and stagnated in your career, which may also make employers more reluctant to hire you.

It’s fair to say that in the Financial Services sector there is a need to change roles in order to keep skills and knowledge up to date, with many employers looking favourably on professionals who have changed roles every three to five years, either within the same company or multiple businesses.

The way forward

Although there is no definitive answer on how soon is too soon, if you’re approaching five years within the same role and company, and start feeling a little restless as a result, then it may be a good time to take steps towards change.

Performing a career benchmarking exercise every three to five years is a good way to evaluate the current stage of your career and what your next move should be. This would involve taking stock of the point you’ve reached in your career, what you want to achieve going forward and talking to a career management or Financial Services Recruitment Specialist.

Recruitment professionals have the ability to guide you when determining whether your skills, experience and current role is in line with the market as it currently stands, and if seeking employment at a new company would provide the career objectives you are hoping to achieve.

In short, you should continuously seek to diversify your professional experience and skills as often as possible, regardless of whether you stay with your current employer beyond the three-to-five-year mark or decide to move on. Remember that it’s not so much about where you are, but rather how you make the best use of your time. 

Need advice on your next career move within the Insurance sector?

Are you getting itchy feet in your current job? Or do you feel unsure about what your next career move should be? If you feel the winds of change driving you to search for a new insurance job in a small firm or a large public sector organisation, our consultants can help you find your perfect role. For more information, you can contact Colin Lloyd on [email protected], or have a look at our current vacancies by clicking the button below!