The past 18 months have brought with them numerous occupational stressors. Remote working, limited access to holidays and more importantly financial uncertainty, have led many to remain in jobs for longer than they would otherwise have done.
Facing challenges at work is expected. Feeling a persistent dissatisfaction towards your job, however, is worth exploring. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported last month that there are now nearly 25% more job vacancies in the UK than there were in the period January-March 2020, which puts candidates in a strong position when considering what work means to them, how they are valued and how they choose to spend their time.
Changing jobs is a significant moment in your professional career. As such, concerns should be viewed through the lens of whether you’re willing to work through them or if it’s in your best interest to move on. Here are 7 signs that you should consider looking for your next move.
1. A poor relationship with your boss
Research by consultancy firm Gallup found that 75% of respondents cited a bad boss as the number one reason to quit their job. The relationship you have with your boss lays the foundation for your success within the business: feeling respected, trusted and psychologically safe enables you to do your best work.
If you and your boss consistently have differing approaches towards ways of working, or you come away from conversations feeling undermined, the issue may be trickier to solve. Ultimately, persevering in this kind of environment will make your path to success more difficult.
2. You feel a cultural disconnect with the business
We work best in an environment where management is accessible, communication is transparent and the work ethic is supportive. A misalignment in values between you and your employer can look like:
- Regularly feeling like you have to bite your tongue
- Working late because it is rewarded
- Inability to be transparent with your manager or clients
- A toxic environment that leaves you feeling depleted and on your guard the whole time
These themes often run through organisations with little scope for change, so ask yourself if you’re willing to suck it up as a necessary evil or if you’d be happier seeking a more frictionless day-to-day experience elsewhere.
3. You feel you’ve plateaued
Feeling challenged with clear goals is crucial to staying engaged and happy at work. A lack of this is common: 45% of respondents in one study said that they were dissatisfied with their organisations' advancement opportunities.
If you find yourself bored or frustrated that your progress has stagnated, the first thing to do is discuss your concerns with your boss, clearly outlining what you need in order to feel satisfied in your job. Is it a promotion? Additional training? More responsibility? Work with them to define a framework to get you there.
The issue runs deeper if, say, your boss regularly fails to uphold their side of the agreement, leading to the erosion of trust and goodwill in your relationship.
4. Poor work/life balance
We all end up working extra hours from time to time: pre-Christmas or in the run-up to a project launch. However, when you are persistently exposed to heavy workloads and tight deadlines it can lead to burnout which impacts your physical and mental wellbeing and relationships with those around you.
Again, speak to your boss or HR manager if you’re feeling overwhelmed: it is their job to help you prioritise your workload. If you find that they are unwilling to support you or that improvements are only short-lived, it may be time to seek out an organisation that prioritises the wellbeing of its employees with a documented support system in place.
5. Lack of emotional support post-lockdown
Data released in May this year from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that depression rates in the UK had doubled since the start of the pandemic so it’s crucial that employees have access to appropriate support. In fact, 25% of respondents in a McKinsey & Co survey said that their place of work not making mental health a priority would cause them to switch employer.
Many workplaces have introduced initiatives to offer support to employees, such as mental health first aiders who are trained to spot the signs that someone is struggling and respond accordingly. If your place of work does not make you feel heard or supported, it’s a big red flag.
6. You lack motivation
If you find yourself persistently procrastinating, suffer from the Sunday Scaries or feel ambivalent towards the projects you’re working on, this needs to be addressed. Nobody expects to feel fulfilled in their job 100% of the time. But if your day-to-day experience tips more towards the negative and you don’t feel motivated to try to change it, it may simply be that your time with your current employer has run its course and you’re in need of a new challenge.
7. Your needs aren’t being met when it comes to flexible working
How companies responded to the needs of workers during the pandemic has played a direct part in people deciding whether to stay in their role or leave, according to coaching company Ama La Vida. In fact, many organisations are now making a point of adjusting their HR policies to increase their range of flexible working options.
As a minimum you should feel able to have an open conversation with your boss about how they might be able to support you in your situation. If you experience resistance it is worth exploring the options offered by the growing number of organisations for whom flexible working is central to their talent acquisition strategy.
How do I answer the question of why I’m leaving my current job?
The reasons listed above are common themes that we are seeing in candidates looking for their next opportunity, in a market where job seekers are more empowered than ever to take control of their day-to-day experience at work. Organisations are implementing ever-more competitive benefits now that the need for clarity around working parameters and the wellbeing of employees are front and centre. Hiring managers will be expecting to have these conversations with interviewees on an authentic level.
At Morgan Law we have close relationships with hiring managers across the finance sector and will be happy to discuss opportunities that include a focus on what matters to you most at work. Check out the range of vacancies we currently have on offer.