Leaving a long-term job - A guide to help you make that all important decision

Leaving a long-term job - A guide to help you make that all important decision

Deciding to make a career jump after being employed by the same company for a long time can be a tough decision. Whether it’s job security or loyalty to your current company that’s weighing on your mind, sometimes making a change can be the right decision.

Statistics indicate that the average UK employee jumps ship every 5 years, while across the pond in the US, people switch roles as frequently as every 4 years. While it’s more common for individuals to work for a larger company for longer, especially if the company is a Fortune 500, there are a plethora of reasons why experts advise moving companies every so often.

Below, we’ll explore some of the fears you may be having about leaving your long-term job and weigh them up against the benefits of moving to a new employer.


Doubts you might be having about leaving a long-term job


Leaving a long-term job is a big decision and one that should never be made lightly. Here at Leonid, we generally advise our candidates not to hand in their notice until they have signed an official contract and are sure they have the new role in the bag. But before you sign on the dotted line, let’s take a look at what could be keeping you up at night.


Loss of job security

When you’ve been in a job for a long time, you generally build up a good deal of job security and have legal rights as an employee. Generally, if you’ve worked for an employer for longer than two years then they must have a very good reason to be able to claim fair dismissal before letting you go. While there are discrimination and equality laws in place that will protect you with less than two years’ service, it’s generally easier for an employer to dismiss you before the two year mark.

The counterargument:

 It can also be argued with longevity comes stagnation: when you’ve worked for a company for so long that you've given what you can, and the organisation needs fresh talent and skills. There may be graduates who are more tech-savvy or can offer more up-to-date new ideas who may be more attractive to an employer than one that has been in the same position for a while.  



A new job is always a risk

We can’t claim that there’s no risk at all in taking up a new job. During the probation period, your employer can terminate your contract of employment at relatively short notice if it’s not working out. The probation period can be an unnerving time for any new employee. However, it’s also the best way for both parties to ensure things are working out as planned.

The counterargument:

By working with a dedicated Talent Acquisition Consultant like Leonid who knows the client well, we can prevent these situations from happening. The LeonidLive platform was designed to support this approach, in which we give clients upfront insight into the cultural fit, personality and communication skills of a candidate so they can make a more insightful hiring decision.

Leonid’s 98% retention rate confirms the success of our approach to talent acquisition, in which we’ve eliminated quick fixes, candidate conveyor belts and lack of transparency, and have instead priotitised long-term client relationships and quality candidate networks that enable us to create the best business-talent matches.


Loyalty to your current company

We get it! When working at a company for a long time, you build up a great deal of loyalty to and with your senior colleagues, manager and fellow colleagues. This takes a while to form, can be broken easily and is difficult to recreate. In addition, if the company has looked after you well over the years (particularly if you’ve been through a difficult time and the employer has shown understanding), it can feel like you’re betraying them by jumping ship.

The counterargument:

While loyalty is an important element of human relationships, it’s important to keep business and personal feelings separate. Leaving your long-term job doesn’t need to feel like a personal slight against your current employer, it can simply mean you’ve had a change in circumstances that mean you’re more suited for a new role with a new organisation.

People continually change and grow throughout their life, just as a company does. Naturally, either of you may feel it’s time to part ways at some point in time. If the tables were turned, consider whether your employer would let you go if the business required it. There’s a possibility that you could be offered early retirement, your role could be made redundant, or you could be moved to make way for colleagues with more relevant experience in other roles.

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that business is business.


The benefits of leaving a long-term job


While it’s a tricky decision, with both pros and cons, there are also a number of benefits you’ll gain by moving to a new position with a new employer. Let’s take a look at these below.

  1. You’ll gain a new perspective

Different companies have different cultures and different ways of approaching things. It’s easy to get stuck inside that culture if you’re there for a long time. By being exposed to a variety of company cultures, you’re able to learn from other companies' good decisions - and mistakes - and carry over that knowledge to a new company.

Joining a new company may also encourage you to question some of your long-held beliefs and challenge yourself to become a better and more well-rounded person.


       2. New opportunities

When you’ve been with a company for a long time, the opportunities for progression and career variety can become more limited. However, a move to a different organisation may give you more variety, flexibility and rapid career progression opportunities that will reignite your passion for what you do.



       3. Enhanced pay

Many organisations have a pay structure that determines the maximum % increase of salary an employee can get each year. If you’ve worked at an organisation for a long time, you may be on a significantly lower salary than someone in an equivalent position who has moved around every couple of years. Loyalty doesn't always get rewarded.

Changing jobs is one of your greatest opportunities to achieve a salary increase, and by doing this every few years, you’ll have a better chance at ensuring you’re earning a competitive salary for your industry.



      4. You’ll develop new skills

Even if the job title is exactly the same and it’s the same industry, a new role is highly likely to be different in ways that will push you outside your comfort zone and require you to improve or develop new skills.

It could be as simple as learning to adapt to a new environment and a new way of doing things, or something a little more challenging like learning new software. But whatever change it is, it will positively enhance your career and personal development.


      5. You’ll make new relationships

You may be delighted to be getting away from a toxic colleague, or you may be sad to see cherished ones go. However, making new relationships is a part of life and it is important to keep developing our social and communication skills.

Being introduced to new colleagues also means you are opening your mind to new perspectives and beliefs which could positively impact your own life. It’s often sad to leave old colleagues behind, but you’ll be gaining a huge amount too.


      6. A real-life account from a successful Leonid candidate

While we could write pages and pages on why leaving a long-term job is beneficial, it’s even more powerful to hear it from someone who has experienced the situation first hand. Below, we’ve caught up with a former Leonid candidate who was successfully placed in a new role after leaving behind a long-term position.  

An account by Robin McIntyre - CTILL

“I recently experienced the difficult decision to leave my current role of Director and Shareholder of a small UK based consultancy to embark upon a new role with a new venture. It was difficult to leave behind a role in which I played a major part in the setting up of a start-up, growing the business and developing the company into an established SME surviving the initial period of financial uncertainty surrounding all start-ups.

For me, I had naturally reached a point within this company where I could no longer perform at my very best and even though I was still making a difference to the company, I felt the time was right for me to pursue a new challenge. I applied for this new role through Leonid Group and through many discussions they helped me realise that it was a good opportunity and worth exploring further. After a few interviews I realised that the role was perfect for me, and lucky for me, so did the company offering the role.

In between job offer and acceptance, the team at Leonid group helped talk through any concerns on the role and also how to deal with resignation from my present role as it was potentially more complicated than just an employee resigning. It really helped to discuss potential scenarios with James (Leonid’s CEO), who had also first-hand experience of this, who listened to my concerns without prejudgement or bias. Naturally, the concerns were linked to the security of present employment versus accepting a role in a new company as well as stepping down as a director and the implications of this.

I would say here that it is really important to weigh up the pros and cons of the situation and see it as a potential opportunity rather than the security and normality of present employment. I am quite risk averse so this was my main barrier to overcome and so I sought out friends and colleagues who would listen rather than provide opinions on what I should do, as there will always be people who will provide unhelpful comments.

Ultimately, the decision is yours but it was important to me to assess my “Why” I get up to go to work philosophy (Simon Sinek), which in my current role had taken a back seat. The new role presented to me was an opportunity not to be missed and would provide me with a way of getting back my “Why”.”


Making the move to a new job


Now that you’ve had a chance to weigh up the pros and cons of leaving a long-term job to move to a new position, we hope you’re thinking more clearly about what the right decision for you is. Leonid can provide our professional advice and experiences, but the decision is a very personal one and should be made by you alone.

If you do decide to sign on the dotted line, we already have a free resource book packed full of tips on how to hand in your resignation and survive your notice period.