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October 12, 2023

How Long Should You Stay With Your Current Employer? 20 Key Factors To Consider

In today's professional landscape, working a lifelong career with a single company is no longer a given. In addition to employees voluntarily leaving to explore new opportunities, downsizing is also on the rise amid an uncertain economy. With this in mind, it's common to wonder: How long should you stay with your current employer or […]

In today's professional landscape, working a lifelong career with a single company is no longer a given. In addition to employees voluntarily leaving to explore new opportunities, downsizing is also on the rise amid an uncertain economy.

With this in mind, it's common to wonder: How long should you stay with your current employer or in your current role? Below, 20 members of Forbes Human Resources Council share essential details to consider when determining when (or whether) to seek out greener pastures.

1. The Company's Ability To Support Your Growth

This shouldn’t be about time. It should be about the experiences the employee is after, how open they are to talk about those and the company's ability to help you find those experiences. If you are in a place that challenges you, values you and helps you learn and grow—stay and thrive! - Paaras ParkerPaycor

2. Your Connection With Your Workplace

As long as you continue to have opportunities to learn, be challenged, enjoy what you do, connect with the values and culture of the company and like the people you get to do this with, no need to look somewhere else. If that starts to change, check in with your leader to see if you can get back on track. If things and people that matter to you are no longer there, then you might want to begin to look elsewhere. - Oksana LukashAvid Bioservices

3. Quality Of Your Time

It’s more about the quality of time at a company. A company that aligns purpose, strategy and culture gives employees a better understanding of how they impact results and the value they’re bringing. - Jessica KriegelCulture Partners

4. Potential For Economic Advancement

There is no maximum timeline. Staying with one firm could have great benefits. Trust is only built over time. As leadership trusts you more, you will get more responsibility with commensurate benefits and salary. Plus, participation in additional equity programs builds wealth. Build your own life based on your own needs. There’s nothing wrong with spending your entire career with one firm. - Richard PolakAmerican Benefits Council

5. The Company's Life Cycle For Career Development

There is no set maximum timeframe an employee should stay at their current employer before moving on. Every individual has different career goals, and companies have their life cycle on what is offered for culture, career development, professional development and internal talent mobility. It's important for employees to stay current with skills development and document their contributions. - Sherry Martin, Government Administration

Forbes Human Resources Council is an invitation-only organization for HR executives across all industries. Do I qualify?

6. Your Overall Career Trajectory

There's no set maximum time to stay with an employer. It depends on career growth, job satisfaction, finances, goals, industry and personal development. Make decisions based on your unique circumstances and aspirations. Consider your overall career trajectory and whether your current role supports it. - Jennifer PattersonPatterson Consulting Group

7. Your Motivation To Explore

Learning is powerful and so is change. While experience is important, time shouldn’t be an indicator of someone’s progress. Instead, professional development and motivation should prompt employees to explore new opportunities. Those bringing more skills to the table won’t have to worry about the timing of moving to the next level—it'll happen sooner than they think. - Noelle

8. The Time To Master Your Role

I recommend two years. It gives the employee enough time to master the role, learn the company and other roles, and seek opportunities either internally or externally to make themselves marketable for a promotion. By the third year, defined plans should be in place for the next steps. - Evelyn ReedHR Jawn

9. Opportunities For Growth And Accomplishment

If the opportunity to stay with a company for many years presents itself, and you are growing and being given new opportunities, there's nothing wrong with staying for years. New employers will weigh what you've accomplished more heavily than tenure. That said, if you're not growing and a better opportunity presents itself, I think two years is a reasonable marker (depending on your prior tenures). - Michelle DelcambreFelicis Ventures

10. Whether You Are Learning And Being Challenged

When you stop learning and feeling challenged in your current role, it's likely time to look for a new opportunity. Always have your long-term career goals in mind, and if you feel you have plateaued or see limited opportunities for development and advancement, start exploring other roles. - Casey HuebschSouth End Partners

11. The Value Exchange Between You And The Company

It should be more about the value exchange between company and employee than one's tenure. It's not time to move if their values, goals and lifestyle align with the organization. On the other hand, if stagnation and a lack of growth manifest, work-life integration or balance is absent, they feel underutilized or their values have diverged from those of the organization, then explore what's next. - Will GainesSuper Store Industries

12. Whether Your Job Is At Risk

It would be unfair to define how long one should stay with the current employer. As long as you feel engaged in your role and you feel valued, you should stay and continue to give your best at work, to your family and your own self-development. Once you know there is a risk of losing your job due to downsizing, speak to your department head, get clarity and start looking for other opportunities. - Subhash ChandarLaminaar Aviation Infotech

13. Where Your Skill Set Is Valued

While there is no maximum number of years, it is key to periodically reassess what drives you, makes you feel appreciated and keeps you mentally challenged. Knowing where your skill set is valued is critical to staying ahead of the curve within your current organization or elsewhere. How? Executive recruiters can be very helpful in giving you an outside perspective on your career. - Elisabetta BartoloniHeidrick & Struggles

14. Whether Better Opportunities Are Available

I hear people talk about how this is a new trend. Early in my career, I changed jobs every two to three years as better opportunities presented themselves, just as young people are doing today. The difference today is that the stability I found later on, no longer exists. So, people have to look out for themselves by employing lifelong learning and always looking. There is no schedule. Always be ready. - Gordon PelosseCompTIA, the Computing Technology Industry Association

15. Your Short- And Long-Term Happiness

There is no set time (months or years) that could be the guideline for staying in your current job or with your current employer. Ask yourself: first, will you be happy doing what you are doing in a given month or a quarter? Second, is the work you are doing taking you to where you wish to be in the next five years? Your answers will guide you in making your next moves (within the organization or outside). - Dinesh ShethGreen Circle Life

16. Viability Of Horizontal Or Vertical Career Growth

Stay as long as you can grow, progress and enjoy what you are doing. If there are viable interesting horizontal or vertical change options that could diversify your skillset and are interesting to you, 10 or 15 years could work. If there are none, a 10-year mark is a good ceiling to have. Change to be more valuable. - Nick FreyAvomind

17. Frequency Of Layoffs

If rampant layoffs are en masse, proactive job seeking would be best practice. Regardless of economic downturns or layoffs, professionals should always be networking and passively exploring opportunities with a fresh resume ready to go. Reactive job searches are highly challenging. So be prepared! - Britton BlochNavy Federal

18. The Company's Financial Position

This will vary depending on the company's financial position as well as growth opportunities. If someone wants to stay with a company and grow with them, then they should. They should not be pressured to change jobs every two or three years for career growth—unless they want to. Workers should challenge themselves and look for growth opportunities in their current companies. - Erin ImHofCertiK

19. The Impact On Your Marketability

Each career move that you make either contributes to or detracts from your personal marketability. Be deliberate and intentional, and build a strong reputation of loyalty and mastery within each role. Boost your career through relationships and performance excellence. - MJ VigilDispatchHealth

20. Your Ongoing Evolution

As long as you’re still evolving, there isn’t a maximum time to stay with an employer. In tough economies, it’s important to skill up in whatever way you can—cross-training, mentorships, shadowing, stretch projects and so on. You want to become versatile so you’re more marketable for roles outside your own in the event something unexpected happens. - Ursula MeadInHerSight

Article written by:  Orville Lynch, Jr.
Mr. Lynch, a member of the legendary two-time Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame Award winning Lynch Family. Mr. Lynch is a nationally recognized urban media executive with over 20+ years of diversity recruitment and serial entrepreneur with numerous multi-million dollar exits.
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