Career Advice | Should You Change Job During COVID-19?
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Should You Change Job During COVID-19?

2 October 2020

This year has seen a record number of employees working remotely, forcing firms across the country to adapt to a new normal. Rather than being a hindrance, this has been a valuable opportunity for companies - and leaders within those companies – to analyse, evaluate and implement new ways of working. This has been especially important with regards to the attraction, onboarding, and integration of new talent.

Due to the effects of the pandemic, companies are now finding themselves in a buyer’s market. With many global firms looking to reduce costs, we are seeing a rise in desirable candidates being made redundant or facing redundancy, across all sectors. Furthermore, candidates are taking more risks and are more willing to explore new opportunities. The situation has forced people out of their comfort zones, creating a more adaptable workforce.

Not only has the way we work transformed this year, but the way interviews are conducted and what attracts candidates to a role has shifted. This shift has drastically widened the candidate pool. Everything can now be done remotely – from applying, to interviewing, to the entire onboarding process – making searching for the right role or candidate far simpler. Moreover, many are embracing the “I have nothing to lose, but everything to gain” mentality, so we now see candidates willing to step out of their sectors and apply for roles they wouldn’t have considered pre-pandemic. Previously, office location and flexible hours were two big dealbreakers for potential candidates. However, after 100% remote working, firms are now more open and willing to negotiate around these two aspects. Companies can now cast a wider net geographically, increasing the chances of finding the perfect candidate for the role.

Those firms currently experiencing difficult times, unable to hire new talent and grow their business, may be finding losing current employees an increasing worry. Under normal circumstances, a counteroffer is not necessarily the best option as there will be doubts about the employee’s loyalty in the future if they accept it. However, in these unprecedented times, in order to retain top employees who are looking elsewhere, this may currently be the only viable solution.

No matter how senior you are in your company, there are always factors that will affect your decision to move to another firm or sector – pandemic or not.

Two of the most prevalent factors that prevent a candidate from making a move are fear of change and fear of LIFO (last in, first out):

Fear of change

Moving to a new company or changing careers is an undeniably daunting process. You may not label this as a fear but be honest with yourself. It is what’s preventing you from leaving an unfulfilling position. This fear can be all-encompassing and paralysing.

The main fears when it comes to leaving a job are failure, taking a financial hit and loss of pride. If you’re switching to a new sector, you may have to take a lower position than you want to in order to get your foot in the door, plus you will have to deal with being new to the sector. Simply switching jobs is one of the most stressful things we experience in life. In your new company, you are going to have to gain the trust of your team or the board and prove you have what it takes to help the business succeed in the future.

It’s normal to be afraid, in fact in these circumstances it would be strange if you weren’t. However, you shouldn’t let these fears stop you from making a change which may improve your life – personally as well as professionally. A common refrain heard from those who have successfully switched careers is “I never second guessed my decision. I only wish I had done it sooner.”

Fear of LIFO

While it’s clear that COVID-19 has brought an added layer of uncertainty to the market, there are several firms showing their resilience and willingness to adapt to the “new normal”. Many firms throughout this situation have shown their commitment to the recruitment of critical hires and growth areas in their businesses. And there are positives aspects that companies can take advantage of - conducting interviews via telephone or online ensures no time is wasted and the candidate experience is upheld.

With the aid of advanced technology, firms have adjusted well to the new world of remote working. They have worked hard to ensure business can continue to operate as usual whilst still considering employee engagement and wellbeing.

The general candidate consensus is, it is much simpler and less stressful to prepare for and attend an interview virtually than it is to travel to and from a potential employers’ offices during working hours.

The bottom line is, any firm that is willing to recruit and interview during this time are serious about taking on new employees. All live roles in the market have been through a headcount and budget approval process by the firm’s key decision makers and HR – rest assured they would not be wasting any of their time, let alone yours, if they didn’t think the hire was needed and secure.