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 There’s an element of risk tied to everything you do in life: walking your dog, driving, eating sushi — even stepping outside your front door carries some minuscule chance of danger.    

It’s with decisions made at work that the risk factor is harder to identify, keeping us from making big, and sometimes necessary, changes. Take your job, for instance — the reason you can even afford all that transportation and sushi. You want to ensure you’re living the dream and making the most money possible, but we all know that’s easier said than done.    

What happens when you aren’t happy at your job? Or, more confusingly, when you are happy at work but a better opportunity comes along? Is it worth leaving the comfort of your old office for something potentially new and exciting? 

Are you putting your income at risk by making a change?    With the help of some insightful data from ADP, learn about the nuances of changing jobs — and if a change may be right for you.   

Job security depends on the size of the company 

When considering a job switch, keep in mind that the industry you’re in factors into the level of safety you have — both in retaining your current job and finding a new one. Large companies with 500 or more employees saw 72,000 new jobs added as compared to medium sized (50 – 499 employees) companies, which saw a 122,000 job increase. 

Small companies — i.e. companies with one to 49 employees saw a job increase of 104,000, all of which should be taken into account when new career opportunities come about.    

It also depends on the industry   

Service-centered industries (education and wealth, leisure and hospitality, and financial activities) had 87,000 more jobs added in 2017 than goods-producing jobs such as construction and manufacturing. So if you want to leave your cushy teaching job for a mining gig, keep in mind that there were only 8,000 new natural resources jobs added as compared to the 40,000 education jobs in February 2017. 

(Food for thought for those who’ve wondered, while trying to keep 30 eighth-graders in line, about the perks of working a mile underground.)   

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It also depends on the company  

Not all companies are the same — an understatement when you’ve experienced lackluster conditions at a company. Job retention is a factor certain companies have to double down on to ensure employees don’t fall victim to quitting or poaching — plus replacing employees costs time and money. This rings true for startups, which need to factor the long hours, unimpressive benefits packages and growing pains — not an ideal environment for those unsure about their future.  

Your happiness is in the hands of others 

While your company’s HR department measures success based on happiness, engagement with the job is a whole different story. That’s because “happiness” is hard to quantify.    

In an ADP study called FIXING THE TALENT MANAGEMENT DISCONNECT: Employer Perception vs. Employee Reality in the U.S. Midsized Market, employees reported that the quality of the work, the hours, and flexibility as the top reasons for happiness and employee engagement. 

So if you’re feeling blue at work and are considering a change, happiness might be closer than you think. Reaching out to your immediate supervisor and getting to know him or her better may just change things around. Of course, speaking to HR about being more autonomous and independent is important too.    

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Staying at your current job can be beneficial … sometimes 

One deciding factor most think about when staying at their current job is wage growth. Despite the fact that women are still making 28 percent less money than men, they tend to exceed in the category of wage growth. In the second quarter of 2015, women received a six percent increase year-over-year as compared to 5.6 percent for men.    

However, this statistic flips when venturing into the territory of a job change. In 2015, women who left an old job for a new one saw a yearly wage growth of 7.9 percent as compared to the 10.3 percent men received — an obvious and frustrating difference.    

High-paying jobs are out there — but not for everyone 

While the promise of year-over-year raises is alluring, that shouldn’t sway you from leaving your old job for a better one. In 2016, the combined workforce saw a job turnover rate of 26.1 percent, with high-paying jobs being added at a faster rate than low-paying ones.   

These stats may sound exciting at first glance, but the painful truth is that these jobs simply aren’t available to everyone. Workers over 55 are less likely to switch jobs, and doing so means risking a smaller paycheck and limited wage growth. If you’re 25 or younger, you’ve got a much better chance of making money — regardless of whether you stay at the job you’re in or move on. On average, workers 25 or under saw their wages rise by 8.6 percent and were able to negotiate a 6.5 percent gain in their new positions. The one caveat is that, as a group, they earned less than their more senior (55 and over) colleagues.    

By factoring in industry, age and the inherent risk in changing jobs, you can see that there are always ways to negotiate more money and — most importantly — happiness in your workplace.     

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