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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Getting Ahead

Should You Change Companies or Stay Put? How to Weigh the Pros and Cons

co-workers talking in a meeting
izusek/Getty Images

How long have you been at your current job? Your age may impact how you answer that question. Twenty-one percent of millennials say they’ve changed jobs in the past year; that’s three times higher than non-millennials, according to Gallup. And only half of millennials plan to be at the same company a year from now, compared to 60% of folks from other generations.

But while many people think that job-hopping is the best way to climb the ladder (and boost your salary), putting in your time at one company can have its advantages, too. For example, at Esri, the market leader in geographic information system (GIS) software, longevity is prized, and employees often choose to build lasting careers within the company because of its culture and a belief in Esri’s mission of making the world a better place.

Of course, whether or not you want to stick with your current employer depends on a lot of factors, including your career goals, your current priorities, and your company’s culture. We spoke with employees at Esri to get their advice on how to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of staying at a company long-term.

Step 1: Consider the Pros

The longer you stay at one company, the more you know about the organization and your co-workers. For many people, that can translate into being more effective at your job and having more opportunities to grow. For others, it means a deeper commitment to the company’s goals and values.

Take Action

Write out your own list of pros. You might draw inspiration by looking at others who have been with your company for three, five, 10, or more years and seeing the advantages their longevity brings.

Some examples:

  • I can learn new areas of the business and keep evolving in my job without having to figure out a new organization
  • Because management knows me and my reputation, I can take on new challenges more quickly than I could at a new company
  • I get to see initiatives I’ve worked on continue to grow and contribute to the company’s success
  • I’m growing my network within the company, making me better and more efficient at addressing customer questions or business challenges
  • I’ve created a bond with the people I work with, both as co-workers and as friends
  • I’ve developed broader and deeper influence across the organization
  • I have a stronger connection to my company’s core values and beliefs
  • My long-term experience with my company’s past gives me insight to help shape its future

Step 2: Be Honest About the Cons

It’s true that working in one place for a long time can also have its drawbacks. In some fields, job-hopping may help you advance more quickly (and bring a higher salary with it). It’s also possible to let yourself get too settled and not challenge yourself. But remember that these things can be very specific to your industry, your team—and even your own personality.

Take Action

Next to the pros, write down your personal list of cons. Make sure these are things you believe are drawbacks to staying put—not stuff your friends outside the industry are saying.

Some examples:

  • I may get too comfortable and stop pushing myself
  • I may not be able to fulfill my career goals at this company
  • I may miss out on advancement opportunities and a higher salary
  • I may fall behind in industry knowledge and technical advancements
  • I may limit my experience to one industry/niche or one way of doing business
  • I may get used to working in one specific environment and not be able to adapt

Step 3: Tally Up Your List

Take a look at your pros and cons. Instead of simply counting to see which list is longer, think about which items are more meaningful to you.

Take Action

Ask yourself these questions—and give the answers deep thought—to decide what your next best move is:

  • Do the pros of staying outweigh the cons?
  • What are my career goals, and can I achieve them at my current company?
  • What are my priorities—career growth, salary, meaningful work?
  • Has my research shown my priorities might be better met at another company?

Infographic explaining 3 steps to deciding whether to change companies or stay put
Infographic design by Logan Waters

Remember, you don’t want to stick around just because of inertia—but you also don’t want to jump ship just because someone told you once, “you have to move on to move up.” You deserve a career path that you choose, not one that happens to you.