Banner Default Image


How long should I stay in a job?

17 Dec 17:00 By Houman Bigloo

Screen Shot 2019 12 17 At 4

In today’s recruitment market professionals move from one job to another quicker than ever before. Whilst changing jobs has some benefits, such as gaining exposure to different working environment and experiences, it can be harmful to your career if it happens constantly.


Throughout my career, I had to reject applicants and have seen many candidates being rejected due to the fact that they had changed jobs constantly without staying in one place for more than two years. 


Of course, you might be a professional freelancer and contractor who constantly moves, which is the nature of their work. As a freelancer, when you decide to settle down and choose a permanent position, you can easily say that you have been freelancing and that you are now open to a permanent position (stating their reasons why) and be considered for a permanent job. However, if you move from one permanent job to another, you will have challenges down the track.


Before I explain how long you should stay in a position, I would like to share with you why staff retention and loyalty has such high value for employers. Each new employee takes three to six months to fully settle into their position and deliver to their full potential. During this period, the employer has to bear the cost of training. Additionally, recruitment process costs the employer time and financial resources as well as the risk of not having someone in the role after you have left. On top of that, the new employee who is hired after you will need training which is another pressure on the business. 


I am sure we can all agree that the employer has every right to make sure their new hire is someone worth investing in. 


Now let’s get back to the topic at hand. I wish I had a magic number to share with you and say that if you stay for (X) amount of years in a potion, you will be safe. However, If you have never stayed in a job for more than a year you are in the hazardous zone and if you have never stayed in a job more than a year and a half you are in the danger zone. To be safe, the minimum industry expectation is that you have stayed in each job for two years at least.


We all have that one job in our career where things don’t work out and we may need to terminate early. Do not worry about those as these things happen. 


There are a few factors that define how long you should stay in a job which I have listed below. 


1. Your occupation (job function)


Different job titles require different levels of training and responsibilities. The more training your job requires, the more you are expected to stay in a position. 


Another factor to consider is how long it takes for you to deliver results based on your job title. For example, if you are responsible to deliver a digital transformation for a business, you are likely to be working on this project for at least two to three years. If you leave earlier than that you are not likely to be able to create a sound and successful case study to add to your Resume. 


2. The industry you work in 


Some industries have a higher turn over rate such as the retail industry and some have higher retention like the medical industry. Since we work in the creative, digital and marketing industry, I will expand on these areas a bit more. 


Professionals within the digital industry are more likely to move around more compared to those in the creative and marketing industry. This is due to the high demand in this sector as well as the fact that it attracts younger professionals who have an interest in exploring their options. The average longitude in a job within the digital industry seems to be between 1.5 to 2 years. 


However, like any other industry, this market might eventually become saturated and it is important to plan for your future and showing some stability in your career can help you down the track. 


Marketing seems to have the highest retention based on what I mentioned in the occupation section. Individuals who work in marketing require longer periods to deliver results. The average longevity in the marketing industry is roughly 3 to 4 years. 


And finally, the creative industry is the one in the middle with 2 to 3 years.  


3. Your level of seniority 


The more senior you are the more longevity is required as your responsibilities increase and you play a more important role in the team that you work in. 


At the end of the day, we all have good days and bad days at work, days when we feel challenged and inspired and other days when we feel flat. It is important to make sure not to make important decisions because of one bad experience. 


In order to prevent constant dissatisfaction with your job and having to move from one job to another, I would recommend that you spend some time with yourself and identify what type of role would satisfy you emotionally and mentally. Also, identify what your lifestyle expectations are and how they align with your desires. 


To do this create a list of your personal values, professional goals and personal needs. When you are presented with a position, you can check and see if they meet at least two-thirds of your requirements. For example, if you one of your values is to protect the environment, you would know that you can not last in a position where the company might be harming the environment. 


On top of that, being realistic is important. There is no such thing as a perfect job where all clients, colleagues and projects go 100% aligned with your desires and everything goes smoothly. If everything always goes smoothly you are not likely to learn and grow. So, keep an open mind. 


I hope these tips can help you develop a rewarding, prosperous and lasting career. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to send me an email on