Why it’s still a good time to change jobs despite COVID-19

By Robert Half on 2 July 2020

As the employment market continues to absorb the various impacts of the coronavirus, fewer candidates may be willing to change jobs or careers, as some prioritise job security over their long-term career aspirations.

But for anyone who may be already thinking about jumping ship, now is actually a better time to look for a new job than you might think. While certain sectors are being forced to make difficult staffing decisions, others are looking ahead and actively hiring for the skills and roles they’ll need in a post-pandemic future.

It’s understandable to ask, “How do I change my job in such a volatile economy? Is it worth the risk?”

Here are some reasons why it’s still worthwhile checking in on the job market, whether you’re concerned about the longevity of your current role or are just looking to make a fresh start.

The competitive landscape is changing

An overall reduction in hiring can mean a more competitive job search. But it’s also a much-changed landscape than pre-COVID - one which will favour candidates who can leverage their core skills, competencies and behaviours in a range of different job types.

This can be a valuable opportunity to assess the types of skills, competencies and behaviours you have that are most valued by employers – such as communication skills, problem-solving, emotional intelligence, teamwork and adaptability. Depending on the industry you’re in, signing up for an online course can help you address any important skills gaps and boost your employability.

While some industries are shedding jobs, others are growing in response to the recent pandemic, and you may be surprised at the career opportunities that present themselves to you.

Smaller teams can create more career opportunities

With many companies having had to reduce the size of their teams, chances are high that remaining team members will have to pick up some of that work and take on new responsibilities.

This provides employees with an opportunity to grow their skills in new areas and show that they are capable of taking on bigger and different challenges as well as more responsibilities – which can often mean expanding your professional experience and getting to climb the career ladder faster.

These companies will still probably be hiring for certain roles, which are more likely to have these increased levels of responsibility and/or development opportunities. Hence now could be an optimal time for candidates who are focused on growing their careers and are looking for the chance to learn about different areas of the business.

It’s important to change jobs if your career needs it

It’s never a bad time to change jobs if you’re unhappy in your current role, no matter what the state of the employment market is. Or you might have become too comfortable in your role, which can prevent you from fulfilling your potential, and cost you valuable time you might otherwise have spent pursuing new and exhilarating career paths.

Given that many payroll budgets are being frozen or reduced, it’s also important that you weigh up the non-monetary benefits of any current or prospective job – such as a flexible work schedule, ability to work remotely, career development and a positive workplace culture – as these are becoming more important than ever in attracting top talent.

So, regardless of whether you’re itching for a career change or just want better job security, it’s worth putting your best foot forward and exploring your options. Look into what industries are looking to hire and keep an open mind when it comes to roles that are available.

While the employment market may not look in the best shape right now, there are definitely still opportunities out there waiting for candidates who are willing to make the switch.

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