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What makes business professionals switch jobs?

Switching jobs and changing companies is just part of corporate life. Companies frequently fight to bring new people on and often see former employees leave for their rivals. But when it comes to why business professionals choose to switch their career path, it isn't always about who's offering the largest salary. 

ProOpinion conducted a poll asking business professionals what factors were critical for them switching jobs, and there was no one reason that everyone chose. 

What factors into choosing a new job?
The most popular answer in ProOpinion's survey was that people moved for better compensation. But, far from being a majority opinion, only 29 percent of the professionals said it was the most important reason to take a new job. According to Forbes magazine, the median salary for someone who graduated with a business degree is about $54,000. Higher salaries are a current industry trend. However, for many the key to making enough money is finding the right position or somewhere where you have the opportunity to move up. 

"29% of professionals said compensation was the biggest factor in switching jobs."

Close behind compensation, the second most popular reason for switching jobs was for a better balance between work and personal life. About 26 percent of the professionals polled said that having more time for their families and themselves would be an important factor in taking a different job.

The average American works 47.5 hours a week, about a full 8 hours longer than the standard 40 hours, according to a Gallup poll from September 2014. Among the Americans who work more than the average, 18 percent said they work more than 60 hours week. If you're working a job where you're expected to pull these above average work days, it makes sense to think about finding a job that let's you have more flexibility. 

After compensation and work-life balance, two choices were tied in popularity as reasons to switch jobs. About 9 percent said either a better location or improved health benefits would play into their decision to move jobs. With current average commute times and health care costs, these factors are valuable to many professionals. They affect both their time at work as well as their lives outside of the office.

The next most important factor for choosing to switch jobs is the company culture. About 5 percent of the polled professionals said that the company culture weighed heavily on whether they'd take a new job. Sometimes a new company is fun, productive or laid-back culture can be an exciting opportunity, while at other times your current job's poor culture might be enough to drive you out to any change of scenery. 

The least popular reason for switching a job was the leadership, which only received 3 percent of the votes. A great leader can be important to your everyday working life, but an attractive leader may not weigh as heavily on your decision to take a new position as its salary, location or benefits. An additional 19 percent of the professionals polled said that there was a different reason that was most important to them while switching jobs. 

Before you switch jobs, get yourself prepared. Before you switch jobs, get yourself prepared.

What you need to know before making the switch 
If you're considering getting a new job, there's a few steps you need to take before you're able to weigh factors like compensation and health benefits. Here are a few tips to help you switch jobs gracefully: 

  • Boost your SEO - If you work in marketing or adverting, you know that SEO stands for search engine optimization. But did you know you could boost your own? Follow a few SEO best practices so that when your perspective employer Googles you, your LinkedIn profile pops up immediately, GlassDoor recommended. 
  • Do your research and make connections - Whether you're moving to your company's competitor or completely changing careers, the Harvard Extension School advised first doing your research, then making connections with relevant people and gaining experience. You have to know your new field or business before you decide to apply. Then, once you do, make sure people know who you are and you're ready to step up to whatever task they need. 
  • Prepare financially and emotionally - it may have been years since the last time you sought out and got the job you wanted. Prepare by putting a bit of money away that you can live off of, in case you need to leave one job before you've fully landed the next. Additionally, make sure you have a support system in place, so that if things don't go exactly to plan, you'll still have the emotional support you'll need. These factors will allow you to avoid stress commonly associated with the job hunt and focus solely on getting your dream job. 

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