The Right Time to Switch Jobs

Morgan McKinley November 15, 2013 2 mins read

The concept of job switching isn’t unfamiliar to anyone. A quick web search will turn up nearly a million corresponding results.

Chinese New Year and the golden months of September and October are especially popular times for making the jump. I am sure anyone with at least 3-5 years experience of toiling in the job market has changed positions at one point or another. With that in mind, when exactly is the best time to take the plunge? How can it be expertly completed? What sorts of risks might it bring to your career?

Most people measure the success and failure of switching jobs in terms of salary. According to a study done by MMK, over 60% of people increased their salaries 15%-30% by switching jobs. Workers enjoying wage jumps of 30% are not unheard of, either. It is worth noting, however, that 10% of those who switch jobs don’t just miss out on a higher salary—they see their wages decrease. Clearly, although salary is important, it’s not the only variable involved. The data also show that after the first year of work, 30% of people experience a slight increase in wages (over 10%), and 20% of people enjoy an increase of at least 40%.

Although the initial period of development after entering the workplace can be arduous, salaries actually grow at a steady rate (around 10%-50% in the first 1-3 years).After working for five years, the candidate has reached a watershed moment. The chances of grabbing big wage increases by switching jobs at this point are very good. Looking at it from a career development point of view, after five years of work, most people have ripened into mature, experienced professionals; they might have become leaders in a particular arena, or highly-qualified, technical professionals. It is natural, then, that switching jobs at this point can lead to higher wages and fruitful career developments.

Once you have work experience, it is important to be striving towards clear career goals by the time you are thirty. In this way, after forty, you can enjoy the golden period earned by your previous two decades of work. Usually, those with good career prospects at thirty have excellent positions, enviable salaries and further opportunities for advancement after forty.

Each job switch is a challenge requiring ample preparation. For new workers, the first position carries a lot of meaning—it will decide the career direction for the next thirty years, increase understanding of social values, give lessons on teambuilding, and impart knowledge regarding operations in a particular industry. For these reasons, it is clear that the probability of success of switching jobs after five years is relatively large.

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