Tenure at a job is vital for appealing to future employers – that’s the prevailing narrative in the workforce, even though many workers frequently change jobs and have for years. Still, some employees worry about leaving a job before they’ve put in at least a year or even more, in fear that recruiters will admonish them for not sticking with a role, or even judge them as someone who can’t hold down a position.
In ways, it makes sense that the stalwart ‘company man’ – someone who knuckles down at a single organisation for years, if not their entire career – remains on a pedestal. After all, they’re revered for staying power and focus, loyalty and commitment. These are all desirable qualities in a potential hire.
But some experts say there actually can be such a thing as too much staying power. “There are a lot of positive connotations about longevity in a role, but there is a fair degree of negativity as well,” says Jamie McLaughlin, CEO of New York-based recruiting company Monday Talent.
Although there’s plenty to be said for having extended experience – and lots of benefits that can come from digging in your heels with one employer – spending too long in one role may work against people in some cases. Some recruiters feel there’s a ‘tipping point’ at which loyalty can potentially signal complacency. And even for those not applying for jobs, there may be other reasons to start looking around after a while.
The tipping point
There is plenty of truth to the idea that a long stay at a company is generally looked upon favourably.It’s an indication of expertise, says McLaughlin – a safe bet that someone who’s been successful in a position for a long time really knows their stuff – and of company loyalty. It also shows workers have figured out what they want out of a role, he adds.