Career Advice: The Disloyalty Bonus - Should I Stay or Should I go?

17 January 2018 By Alastair Cleland


​UK workers are paying a price for loyalty. Data released this summer revealed that workers who stick with their current employer are receiving an average annual pay rise of 2.5%, whereas those moving to a new employer can expect an uplift of 11%.

A contrary to popular perceptions of ‘job hopping’ millennials, the research found that workers under 30were moving jobs less than the average, with women also staying put more than men.

It’s unclear exactly why the gap between loyal employees and those looking elsewhere has widened, but the research did show that the number of people switching jobs across the board had decreased, which could explain why loyal employer’s pay had suffered: employers have less reason to pay more to prevent their staff from leaving.

In payments, where industry expertise and specialist knowledge is often highly valued, switching employers can be particularly lucrative. Many payments professionals expect to move jobs every few years to maximise their value.

Greener pastures?

If you are a candidate thinking about leaving your current employer, you may be considering how to answer the ‘stay or go’ question – and wondering whether the so-called ‘disloyalty bonus’ should factor into your decision making. The answer is that it will largely depend on your individual situation; particularly the merits of both your current job and what opportunities are available elsewhere.

Moving companies isn’t always the right decision.

Although it’s clear from the data that moving employers does provide financial rewards on average, this doesn’t tell the whole story. There’s a risk that moving companies too frequently may result in recruiters and potential employers doubting your willingness to stick at one thing, or your ability to adapt to new circumstances and change.

Ultimately a great opportunity to step into new roles outside your comfort zone and experience level. While a company is unlikely to hire you for a role you’ve not had any relevant experience for, your current employer may feel more comfortable letting you try your hand at something new, if you’ve proved your ability to learn quickly and adapt. You’ll have advantages over an external candidate in knowing the team and company processes.

Moving purely for money can also be a bad idea: unless there are other factors motivating you to switch companies, you may end up giving up other things that are important, such a culture, team or working environment

But it can breathe fresh air into your career…

But in many cases, moving employers can be the right thing to do. Certainly, it gives you a good opportunity to negotiate a raise, particularly if you’re already employed and doing well in your current job.

It’s not all about the money either; switching companies can be a fast-track to bigger roles– for example, if your current employer is a smaller company or one with little room for progression. Even changing companies in a relatively short period of time (less than two years) looks good on your CV, if the move makes logical sense in terms of career progression, learning and new challenges.

Finally, switching companies can also show you are adaptable to new environments or industries, a hugely desirable quality in a candidate.

And what if you’re a hiring manager?

The data raises questions for employers too. Employers may wish to carry out market reviews of the salaries they offer to ensure employees are paid fairly and to mitigate the chances of them being poached elsewhere. Employers would also do well to take note of the other variables they can control to retain staff, including learning and progression opportunities, a healthy working environment, and perks and benefits.

Either way, there is no denying that the disloyalty bonus exists. The trick is making it work to your advantage - whether you’re an employer or a candidate. 

Take your career to the next level

If you’re looking to make the most out of your next move, or are wondering how to attract and retain top talent, then Headcount can help. Contact us here, or view our live vacancies.