Look Hard Before You Leap in a Slowing Economy
With companies continuing to reduce their work forces and fewer new jobs being created, many employees may be planning to ride out the economic turbulence with their current employers. However, a number of workers will be trying to switch employers even during the business slowdown. They should be mindful of a twist to an old saying: The grass may not be greener – especially in a slower economy.People should always be cautious when making a decision whether or not to change jobs. But in a slower economy, employees have to consider the potential negative consequences of switching employers more closely than during a better business environment.
Among the factors employees need to weigh in considering whether to change jobs during a difficult business environment are:
Competition is more intense for jobs, and it’s a buyer’s market. Qualified candidates are more plentiful when a greater number of employers are trimming their labor forces. The supply of unemployed candidates will help employers hold the line on salaries, and compensation packages may not be as attractive as in a better economy.
There will be more pressure on new hires to obtain results quicker. There may be a much shorter time period during which successful candidates will have to achieve their objectives, since employers may be looking for new hires to increase sales, cut costs, improve earnings and productivity more quickly. While in better times, employers may give new employees six months or so in which to attain their goals, this window can be cut by half or more during a slowdown.
There will be more candidates to choose from if a new hire fails. The shorter time period in which new hires will have to achieve results, and the greater availability of qualified talent, mean more employers may pull the trigger sooner. They may offer new hires less generous severance packages to enable them to make a change more quickly.
Greater potential negative fallout from your current employer if you are discovered trying to change jobs. Employers who learn that a valued employee is seeking to change jobs may try to make things more attractive for him or her to remain onboard. But, an employer who discovers that a problematic employee is job-hunting may decide to let the worker go – and take advantage of the availability of qualified candidates to find a replacement.
Increased emphasis on “fit” between new hires and their new employers. Employers may be less forgiving of new hires who don’t fit in with culture of their organizations, or with co-workers and their supervisors. How well new employees relate interpersonally to their supervisors, colleagues, and direct reports counts more heavily when a business needs to be turned around, or its earnings and profitability are off.
People who ultimately decide to change jobs during tough times should make sure they want to do it for the right reasons. Don’t base your decision on minor disagreements with supervisors or co-workers, or negligible compensation differences. If you generally like what you do for a living, and who you are doing it for, explore options for working things out with your current employer – at least until the economy improves.