How often should you change engineering jobs?

There’s a famous adage that you should change your job (not just your engineering job – any role you have) every two years.

On the surface, that seems more than a little intense. But is there a method behind the madness?

If you’re thinking about leaving your current position and taking on a new one, here are some of the most cogent points to consider:

Should you change engineering job every two years?

1) Does your current job have opportunities for career progression?

If you have dreams of having any kind of engineering manager job or reaching a high-level position in your career sooner or later, you will want to consider whether your current role can get you there.

This doesn’t have to mean a direct progression track towards senior management. It might mean your current position will give you certain key skills that might be hard or harder to get elsewhere.

In short, if you have progression in mind, consider whether your current role will allow you to achieve it.

2) Do you have the balance of responsibilities and reward you want?

Every job comes with a balance of reward and responsibility. What feels “right” will be down to you.

For some people, the reward is the key part of the equation. You might be in a position that you feel doesn’t reward you financially or with enough other benefits considering the number of hours and hard work you put in.

Other people favour having a lower or higher level of responsibility. Perhaps you see the reward you get as a fair exchange for being required to do a lower number of more favourable hours or having a job that exposes you to less stress?

If you’re considering applying for new engineering jobs in any specialism, it’s worth thinking about where you fall on this spectrum. What sort of balance are you looking for?

Does your current job provide it? What will you be looking for in your next role to make sure it will?

3) How long has it been since you last changed job?

That “two years” number isn’t quite as random as it might appear on the outside. Imagine that you yourself are undertaking an engineering recruitment process for your company.

You have three candidates. One seems to change jobs every few months. One has been in their current position for four or five years. The other has been in their current role for two.

What are your initial impressions of each candidate based on this information alone?

You might think that the first hops around jobs too much. On the other hand, four or five years is quite a long time to be in one position. That person might stay with you, but have they kept their skills up-to-date from previous roles they’ve listed?

These are broad generalisations. Yet they aren’t a million miles from the way some engineering company HR departments can tend to think. Two years is something of a goldilocks zone. It can be worth bearing in mind when you’re thinking about changing jobs.

4) Is the grass really greener on the other side?

For some people, it’s sheer restlessness that makes them change engineering jobs every few years. They always end up thinking that the grass will be greener somewhere else.

Perhaps it will be! Certainly, if you’re not happy in your current role it’s well worth putting out some feelers or working with a specialist engineering recruitment agency to explore other potential options.

But it’s definitely worth taking stock of the pros and cons of your current role. How will you feel if you successfully change jobs for what amounts to little reason? You could end up regretting it later on.

A little self-reflection and assessment of your situation are well worth your time.

5) What are your long-term goals?

This is essentially the overriding question you should be asking yourself when it comes to how often you should change engineering jobs.

Maybe you have high career aspirations. Maybe you want a job that is interesting yet provides little stress and fair take-home pay.

Whatever your goals for your career happen to be, it makes sense to lay them out. Then ask yourself: how long will your current job help you achieve them?

Ready to take your next step towards your dream engineering or manufacturing job?

Let’s talk. Ernest Gordon is a specialist manufacturing and engineering recruitment company. We help candidates all over the UK find their ideal position every day.

Get in touch with us now. For a commitment-free chat about the next role you see yourself in.