Thinking about changing jobs, or making a career move?
New Zealand workers have itchy feet, and with so many job opportunities available right now, less competition and more potential to negotiate, job moves are enticing.
One in five Kiwis are looking to change jobs in the next six months, with this fraction rising among 18-24 year olds, according to independent research for SEEK.
For nearly seven in 10 candidates, their main motivation to shift is to make more money, while three in five agree there are more opportunities to advance their career in the current market.
The ball's in your court right now
Kirsty Anne Ferguson, Founder and Interview Coach at Interview Chix, says there are more job opportunities out there than there have been “in a very long time”.
Even better, organisations have started to widen their criteria when assessing potential employees, and many have improved their remuneration offers post-pandemic, she says.
“During COVID-19 we realised how flexible people could be. What we’re seeing now is organisations are not just looking at people’s education, technical skills or experience, but also their transferable skills, as well as their attitude and authenticity.”
Employers are also marketing their benefits, the flexibility they offer and their values up front.
“I really like this transparency because you can see quickly if the company or the job is the right fit,” Ferguson says.
So, if you’re wanting to search for something ‘better’, what should you look for exactly?
Top 3 reasons to look for a new job
There are three things that typically attract people to a role or to make a job change - salary, work-life balance and career progression - according to SEEK’s research.
They're all worth discussing in the right way in a role review, negotiation or job interview, Ferguson says.
"If you're happy, your employer is happy and you're more productive. This is especially important for people early in their careers, so they have a better understanding of their self-worth and their value in an organisation, and they feel more prepared to ask for what they want."
There’s been a steady growth in salaries, which is great news for jobseekers, especially given the soaring cost of living.
So, if more money is your motivator for a new job or a pay rise, now may be the time to take advantage of the current market conditions.
With less competition for roles, you have more negotiating power. Before heading into an interview or salary conversation with your boss, do your research to better understand what salary matches your skills and experience.
The pandemic has given many people a taste of what work-life balance could look like and time to reflect on an ideal work situation. Many organisations have also changed the way they operate to incorporate things like hybrid-work, job sharing and condensed work weeks to support their employees in enjoying the benefits of greater balance.
For many, work-life balance or flexibility isn't just working part-time, it's about a tailored schedule that suits your life. Do you want to start and finish early, work two-days from home, or condense your work week into four days? It’s important to know what you want your working weeks and your days to look like, which will be different for everybody.
And this can change throughout your career, Ferguson says.
“In the early stages of your career, you may want to work more and save more, and in the middle stages, you may want to work from home and share family needs effectively.
“The more aware you are of your priorities, the more they will drive your decision making and happiness.”
There are many reasons to look for a new job, and career progression is one of them.
Does your current role provide opportunities for growth or have you plateaued? If the latter, it might be time to make your next move.
Before seeking out a new job that offers career progression, think about what you’re looking for. Do you want to develop your skills or step up in your career? Ferguson says, once you’re clear on what you want from your career, you can start mapping out the journey to get there and defining practical steps to make it happen, such as asking what professional development opportunities are available within the job interview.
These three factors can be great motivation to explore new roles. But there’s more to think through, too.
How to tell if it’s the right time for you to change jobs
To decide whether it’s the right time for you to make a change, Ferguson suggests reflecting on your current role. Think about:
- what you like and dislike
- what opportunities for progression it offers
- whether it upholds your values.
Then assess if you’re mentally ready for a new challenge and a new environment and, if the move is not salary-motivated, whether your finances can sustain the change.
When considering a new role, Ferguson advises you to place the following priorities in order and do a short audit to see if they match a job you’re considering. Think about:
- professional growth and progression
- work-life balance
- rewards and benefits
- company culture
It’s also worth considering the job in the wider context of your life — location, finances, family commitments and lifestyle — to decide whether it would be a good fit, she adds.
“The confidence to push ahead to a new employer comes from knowing what motivates you, what makes you happy and what your priorities are.”
There's never been a time like this to explore opportunities, and spending some time to consider what's important to you can help you make the right change at the right time.
But don't let the thought process paralyse your decision-making, Ferguson warns, or you may miss out on opportunities altogether.
Most people will eventually move on from a job when putting up with it becomes too much, she explains.
“But why wait until then when the current options are so enticing?”
"Assess your priorities, and if there's something that you can improve, then why not make the change now? That's very empowering."
The Great Job Boom is here – and there’s benefits galore. Play the game and hit the high score!
Source: Independent research conducted by Nature of behalf of SEEK, interviewing 4000 Kiwis annually. Published October 2022 & SEEK Advertised Salary Index. Published August 2022.