Joe Sullivan, president of International Market Recruiters, shares advice with professionals considering changing jobs.
Q. As a recruitment consultant firm specializing in the financial industry, what is the type of activity you are seeing in the current market conditions?
With the current market turmoil, people are understandably concerned about prospective lay offs and companies going under. The general morale is down and financial institutions are more cost conscious than ever. All this makes employees very nervous.
Q. What are the main drivers for candidates looking for a new job now?
Job security and company security are the two top reasons why candidates are coming to us looking for a new job. We are seeing a lot of resumes from individuals who are loyal employees and would have never moved in better times. This is true for roles across the board – both buy side and sell side, including roles in operations, risk management, prime brokerage and IT.
More money and a better job opportunity was historically the real reason to change jobs but this is not the main motivation in current market conditions for most individuals.
With the current market circumstances – banks filing for bankruptcy and others getting acquired – an individual’s number one concern is company risk. You won’t find anyone now who will consider moving for more money or a bigger role if the company doesn’t look like it will be able to stand on its own two feet tomorrow. Today, people are changing jobs only if it is to a more stable firm and one where there is good potential for long-term success and growth.
Happiness in one’s working life is grossly underestimated as a key factor in employee retention. So a common but overlooked reason why an individual will look to change jobs is mismanagement and job dissatisfaction. We are creatures of habit and don’t like change, but if upper management isn’t recognizing and/or rewarding our accomplishments, then we will naturally feel more inclined to look elsewhere. At the end of the day, if a person is happy then he will require a significant incentive (big pay rise or opportunity) to change jobs. Happy employees always make for lower turnover.
Q. What about people working at these ‘unstable’ firms right now? Should they consider changing jobs if their existing firm is in the process of being acquired or sold off, for example? When should they stay or when should they go?
It is difficult to give general advice on this question because the situation depends very much on the specific firm, its circumstances and of course, the candidate’s job and ranking.
I would warn individuals not to be so quick to jump ship. Again, if you’re going to change jobs you want to move to a stable firm so just moving for the sake of moving isn’t a great idea.
It is a recruitment consultant’s job to help candidates in the active management of their careers while also looking out for their best interests now and in the long-term. Financial professionals need this help now more than ever.
Q. If there isn’t an urgent reason for changing jobs, when is the best time for someone to make a move?
A candidate should make the change when one finds a role that suits all needs and expectations. Now it is a great time for someone out of work to secure employment because there is less competition and as an unencumbered candidate, he would be less costly for a firm. I advise firms to go after these out-of-work candidates for the same reasons – unencumbered means no buyout of bonuses, but more importantly, these individuals are generally very skilled and experienced. There is no need to wait until January to fill an opening you have now.
Q. Any final words of advice for professionals looking to make a move and/or negotiating for a new job now?
In this marketplace, candidates need to know it is 2008 and not 2006. You can’t compare today’s salaries with two years ago because the price will always be that which the market can bear. Candidates really need to get their expectations in line with client’s reality. A company doesn’t need to pay up because they can’t. Today, a lateral move is a raise. And the salary of last year, locked in, is a good deal.
And a candidate with a stable job shouldn’t be so quick to move because he does not have any leverage because the first question in an interviewing firm would ask would be “Why are you going?" Of course, a move to a better job with the same salary at a prospering firm may be a good idea, but this isn’t the majority of the situations today.
*For more information on IMR please contact the company web site at www.goimr.com