It used to be that the longer you stayed with one employer, the better because most organizations believed in promoting from within and they would offer incentives for long-term employees – particularly pensions. Nowadays, things are a little different and leaving one employer for a better opportunity somewhere else is standard practice. However, that doesn’t mean there are no advantages to staying with an employer long-term.
Every company is different, and while pensions are pretty much a thing of the past for most of today’s workforce, some employers are worth sticking with, whether it's for personal benefits or career opportunities. But, when you’re presented with a job offer from another company, you have to weigh the pros and cons and consider the long-term effects this change could have on your professional life.
Sometimes, the answer is obvious, like if your goal is to earn more and leaving your current employer is the only way to do this. Other times, it’s a little trickier, like if taking the new job gets you a better title. But it comes at the cost of forfeiting a significant long-term benefit. To make the right choice, you have to be clear on what you’re looking for in a new opportunity and weigh the risks and rewards to determine your best course of action.
Advantages of Staying at a Company
While potential retirement benefits are a significant advantage of staying with an employer long-term, there are plenty of other good reasons you might choose to stay. It comes down to your professional and personal goals and your priorities. Here are a few advantages to consider.
Gain expertise; by sticking with one employer, you have the opportunity to become an expert in your industry and your particular role.
Predictability; if a routine is essential to you, this is a significant benefit because there is comfort in knowing what to expect every day.
Unique benefits while retirement is an obvious one here; many companies offer other special perks to longtime employees, such as more vacation hours, sabbaticals, student loan assistance, flexibility, and a stake in the company.
Reputation of dependability; when you stay with an employer for an extended time, they will depend on you more and more. Once you’ve established yourself as dependable, you’ll likely be offered high-level opportunities because leadership will know they can count on you to do the job (and do it well).
Internal advancements; some companies have established paths to career growth. When a position opens up, they give preference to internal candidates, so you may have a higher chance of development by staying with one employer than by hopping around to get promotions.
Strong work relationships; the longer you stay with an employer, the stronger your relationships will become, which means more people will have your back and advocate for you when it comes time for a raise or promotion.
Stability; while there is always some risk of being laid off at any job when you’re with an employer for a long time, there is a stronger feeling of stability (primarily if they practice “last one hired, first one fired”).
Disadvantages of Staying at a Company Long-Term
Despite the many advantages of staying with an employer for the long haul, some drawbacks should be considered. Again, some of them depend on your specific job, your employer, and what your goals are, but it’s essential to include them once you get to the point where you’re assessing your current situation.
Limited opportunity to learn new systems and or methods. Just because this is how your employer does something, it doesn’t mean it’s how every company does it. By staying in a position for too long, you could inadvertently put yourself behind because you’re not getting trained in new ways of doing things.
Risk of complacency (or the perception of complacency); while the predictability that comes with a long-term employer is a benefit, it comes at the risk of becoming complacent in your job and losing motivation. Similarly, your employer could see this as complacency, especially if you’ve stopped going for promotions or special projects.
Too reliant; as mentioned earlier, there is always some risk of getting let go from a job, so if you are too reliant in your current role, you could be dealt with a major blow in the event of a sale, merger, or acquisition.
Less variety in your work experience; this is especially true if you have the kind of job role that expands in multiple industries (such as marketing or accounting) because you’ll have a more challenging time proving you can do the job when your experience is quite limited.
Less networking opportunities; you aren’t going to meet as many people outside of your immediate professional circle if you never leave your company, and this could lead to you missing out on opportunities in the future.
Salary limits; most organizations have salary caps for certain positions, so you may cost yourself income by staying with a company with a lower limit.
Assessing Your Current Situation
The only way to determine if staying or leaving is the right answer for you is by evaluating your current situation about what you want long-term. If your goal is to build up a retirement fund and your current company offers you a 10% match, then leaving it for another job that doesn’t provide something similar might not make sense. This step looks completely different from person to person, but here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you figure out your next move:
Is my current company’s structure aligned with my professional goals?
Does my current position make the most of my expertise?
Are opportunities for financial growth limited?
Will leaving require me to forfeit essential benefits?
Does my current position fulfill my personal goals?
Am I happy where I am now?
Are there opportunities for me to grow within my role (ex: getting exposed to new systems)?
These are questions only you can answer. You may need to explore some of them further by doing research (like reading through the company handbook) or having frank discussions with your manager about your future with the company/where they see you going. There are a lot of factors at play, so if you have the luxury of time, take advantage of it so that you know you’re making the best decision for yourself.
Making Your Decision
Ultimately, whether to stay where you are or move on to a new employer is up to you. If you are comfortable where you are, that’s great and you don’t have to change things up if you don’t want to. Likewise, you won’t be letting anyone down if you decide to leave where you are to try something new (your colleagues will miss you, but they will also be happy for you). Remember, it is your career, and you are the only one to decide where it goes.
If you’re ready to make your move, The Mom Project’s job marketplace is full of incredible opportunities with vetted employers — so join today and start looking for your next adventure.
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