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Should I stay or should I go?

20 Dec 11:00 by Richard Walters

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When you make your next career move, think carefully about whether to stick with your employer or head somewhere new

Ready to make the next move in your marketing career? You’re not the only one. Marketers everywhere are getting itchy feet as the job market has finally regained the confidence levels of the pre-financial crisis years.

Every career move involves weighing up countless factors, and one of the key dilemmas is whether to climb the internal company ladder or leave for a new employer.

For many, the first option has obvious appeal. It’s the path of least resistance: just turn up, do your job well and wait your turn for promotion. After all, you didn’t spend all that time building up knowledge, contacts and employee benefits for nothing.

But moving on can offer rewards that you’re unlikely to get if you stay.

There’s the opportunity to broaden your horizons, work with new people, and develop yourself. In today’s rapidly changing market, where digital transformation is playing out differently at every organisation, a range of experience is perhaps more valuable than ever.

Most importantly, a new employer means a fresh start – challenging your thinking, shaking off your old habits and forcing you to flex muscles you’d forgotten you had. The first day will be scary – it always is – but you need a bit of that in your career.

The grass might be greener from a salary perspective, too. Marketing managers in the gambling sector, for example, earn 50% more than their counterparts in education. 

The problem is, seeking external jobs takes time, perseverance and – unless you can fit interviews into lunch breaks and days off – a good list of excuses. It also takes guts, because no-one knows for sure how a new job will turn out until it’s too late.

That’s not to say that staying can’t be gutsy too. It might mean tackling intractable problems that you could have run away from; establishing yourself as a manager of colleagues who were once your peers; or leveraging your accumulated knowledge of the business to effect bold changes. And, in large organisations, a new role can be as big a change as a new employer.

The length of time people stay with an employer varies a great deal by sector – you’ll know best what’s typical in your field. A CV featuring too many or too few moves will have recruiters asking why, so make sure you’ve got the answers.

Whichever path is right for you, be mindful that staying and going both have important benefits and drawbacks. Today’s most successful marketing careers are likely to feature a bit of both.

Waiting for a promotion? Why stay, why go.

Stay:

  1. There are still opportunities to learn new skills at your current employer that could help you secure a better role in future.

  2. You are likely to win promotion in the near future.

  3. The company is giving you the opportunity to test yourself against fresh challenges.

  4. You are making useful connections.

  5. You have done a good deal of job hopping already and want a longer period with an employer on your CV.

Go:

  1. The job market today is a lot better – if you only took on your current position for want of something better, it might be a good time to find another opportunity.

  2. You want to go back into full-time study, to improve your future prospects.

  3. If you have learned all you can, and feel like your skills are stagnating, it’s time to move on.

  4. You want to try marketing in a different sector.

  5. The company is too small for you to move up, is cutting staff or changing focus away from marketing for the long term.

​Originally posted on https://exchange.cim.co.uk/​