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The Negative Impacts of 'Job Hopping' in the Construction Industry

With the volume of construction work scheduled in the Middle East over the next 5 years the laws of supply and demand would suggest that salaries will be on the rise as we saw several years ago in the last Dubai boom.

One trait that was a common occurrence back then was a 'Job Hopping' culture. Salaries were on the rise and some workers realised they could rapidly increase their salary by finding a new job every 6 months and getting the standard 10% - 15% pay rise each time.
Caution As Period of Strong Growth Expected
As we sit on the brink of another period of growth in the Middle Eastern construction market, my advice is that candidates need to be cautious of hopping between jobs too frequently and chasing the higher salaries that are likely to come in certain locations and sectors.

The single most common reason I get for a candidates CV not being suitable for a position is:
"They've moved around too much". Or as one Line Manager once put it; "They've had more jobs than I've had hot dinners".

What is a reasonable period of time to stay in a job?
It's a good question; and it got me doing some research into what the average length of time people stay in a job actually is. I found many answers that all differed depending on age and seniority but the consensus was that somewhere between 3 and 5 years was classed as the norm for being in the same job before moving on.

My personal opinion is that staying in a position for less than 3 years is not going to harm your CV and the figures quoted above should be taken with a pinch of salt as everyone's circumstances are different and some quick moves cannot be helped and are necessary.
A quick change of job on its own that can be reasonably justified such as being laid off or a dream career opportunity arising. In these instances you either have no choice or there is very little to think about when deciding to take another opportunity.

However if you are someone that searches for a new position every time you have a bad week at work or your ears prick up every time someone calls you up and tells you they can get you an extra £2,000 per year, it may be time to start thinking twice about moving on again.

After having too many short periods of employment in your career it becomes very hard to justify that you are a long term prospect for potential employers and you should not be surprised when your CV becomes unappealing to a hiring manager at a high calibre company who values his staff turnover rates

Moved around too much? My advice.
If you are someone who has too many short periods of employment in your career history to date, here are some things to consider next time you get the urge to begin to look for a new job:
• Are you moving to a position that is genuinely going to improve your life? (Better location, better benefits, better career prospects etc)
• Is changing jobs now going to help your career in the long term and help you achieve your career goals?
• Is there anything you can do to make the situation in your current job better?
• Put money aside. Would you still take this new job?
It's natural to desire the highest salary we can achieve for the work we do. For this reason it is understandable that the salary on offer when deciding to take a job is a big factor in our decision process. However the salary on offer should not be the primary factor when making a decision if you value your long-term career.

It's great to get a pay rise, but if it's at the cost of making a 4 hour commute each day and working for a company who offer little career opportunities for you and the atmosphere at work is not enjoyable to work in, is it really worth the increase in salary?

In essence there are many benefits to a job rather than just the financial side of the offer and these need to be considered seriously and factored into your decision making process accordingly, such as:
• Work / Life Balance (Is the daily commute a reasonable? Working hours?  Holiday entitlement? etc)
• Company Culture (Likeminded professionals? International systems & procedures? Enjoy going to work?)
• Career Prospects (Training? Support? Successful business with room to grow?)
• Job Security (Perm or short term contract? Company reputation? Company Stability?)
• Benefits (Standard of medical cover?  Holiday Entitlement?)

Be sure to consider the points above seriously as well as just the salary on offer. Everyone's circumstances are different and some will value different aspects of a job offer more than others. Hopefully this blog has given you some food for thought when you are considering your next career move.

A better salary is not always a better career choice.

Stuart Hackett
Maxim Recruitment
UK & Middle East Regions

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