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A common career question in Hong Kong that often arises is whether it is better to focus on a long term career with one firm, or gain broad work experience by moving between different employers?
The overarching issue is that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer. It’s all about following the path you believe is right for your individual circumstances.
That said, there are pros and cons to each strategy.
Related: Finding a job in Hong Kong
Focusing on broad work experience
There are pluses and minuses to changing jobs frequently, though research by Robert Half indicates that employers are becoming wary of ‘job hoppers’.
Some of the career benefits available from frequently moving between roles include the potential to accelerate your learning and gain a broader skill-set and wider experience. Moving from firm to firm can see you become more of a well-rounded professional, and this can enhance your market value.
If it comes down to a remuneration angle, a career path characterised by multiple job switches has the potential to offer remuneration jumps each time you change jobs.
Related: How to find the right job
Nonetheless, it pays to tread carefully. As mentioned earlier, business leaders in Hong Kong are looking for professionals with a reasonable record of tenure. This reflects the challenges and cost of recruiting new professionals.
You could also find yourself susceptible to the ‘last in, first out’ mentality that can accompany a company reshuffle. Sure, this is not always the case, but business leaders value loyalty among their people and a history of job shifting has the potential to hinder your career path.
Related: Working in Hong Kong
Being loyal to a single employer
The decision to remain with one employer for the long term can be a viable career path.
It can offer an opportunity to progress within the organisation as you develop industry-specific skills and experience, and continually work hard to demonstrate your value to the company.
Over time you may come to be regarded as an individual with good leadership skills and who can be groomed for senior management roles. And for some professionals, staying with the same firm in Hong Kong or overseas can be a very comfortable option from a personal perspective.
The downside of remaining with one firm for your career path, is that you may not develop the breadth of skills and business acumen needed to achieve significant professional development.
Continually updating your technical skills – and soft skills – is important, and if you decide to remain with one firm, this sort of progression can usually only be achieved through formal staff training and development.
Are you ready to make a move or a career change?
Indeed, the value of ongoing professional development shouldn’t be underestimated. Here’s why:
- Unless your professional skills progress at a particular rate, you run the risk of slowed growth in remuneration. This may not always be the case, but it pays to know your current market value and understand what it takes to warrant the remuneration you are looking for. Bear in mind, stale skills make it hard to demand a market-pegged salary.
- Keeping your skills sharp can mean taking ownership of the issue rather than simply relying on your employer’s sense of obligation to pay a higher salary.
- Spend time researching the latest technology and business trends, and invest in the training you need to stay professionally relevant for your career path.
- Seeking the advice of a professional recruitment consultant can give you a broader idea of the Hong Kong market and what you can do to enhance your career path – both now and in the future.
Related: How to work with recruiters (to land your dream job)