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About In House Tax

About In House Tax

This weblog is a news and views site for tax professionals within the UK and international in-house tax community.  You will find information about appointments and people moves in and around the in-house tax market, issues affecting the in-house tax professional, opinions on the state of the tax job market, updates on tax technology, and other general thoughts of the day.

Hope you find it useful.

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Location: St Albans, United Kingdom

This site has been developed by Simon Godley, who also runs the niche tax recruitment company Talentpool Selection . Simon spends a lot of his time placing tax specialists into FTSE companies, large in-bound groups and some professional services organisations. He also recruits and is well networked around the UK tax technology and VAT markets.

Tax News

Why do we move jobs?

Friday, 22 November 2013

By Simon Godley

Over the last 17 years of working in the recruiting industry, all of which have been in and around the tax market, I have spoken to a LOT of candidates.  I’ve literally done thousands of first conversations over the phone with new candidates, and at some point within that first conversation, I will ask a very key question. This question will come in many formats and guises, but it will be essentially trying to find out ‘Why are you looking to move jobs?’

Of course, I have had back a vast array of answers to this.  There is often a lot of dodging of this particular question, and in a lot of cases the first response is something along the lines of feel it is time to find a new challenge or it is time for a change.  These responses can be seen as quite valid, but they are in the vast majority of cases NOT the reason why someone is looking.  This response is usually covering up one or more other core reasons why someone is not happy in their current role, and it can take many more lines of questions to find out this crucial information.
So what are the real reasons why people move jobs, or why people start looking to move jobs?  I tend to collect and retain information on candidates that I have placed, including the core reasons as to why they moved on.  So from this data accumulated over a number of years, here's my Top 5 reasons why people move jobs, with the biggest one first:

1.     Achieve the next step up.  People are highly motivated by the opportunity for success, and feeling that they are on a promotion ladder.  Some of the larger accounting firms / Big 4 etc. have good retention levels as they can show their staff a clear promotion ladder in front of them if they perform well i.e. trainee level to consultant to manager to senior manager etc., although in weak markets this promotion track can be heavily slowed.  People generally need to feel they are progressing and striving towards a promotion, and if this prospect starts to fade away, they will quickly start to look at external options. 

2.     Move away from Manager / Management.  The above is very closely followed by this reason.  It is often said that people don't move jobs, they move managers.  People work well for people they both like and respect.  However people who work hard in a job can start to get very good at that job, and then can start to think / feel that they do it better than their Manager, with the perception that they have outgrown the role.  At the same time, there are Managers that are poor at managing people, poor at communications and building relations, and this all quickly leads to very demotivated staff in their teams. 

3.     More Money.  You may have expected this to be a higher on the list, but money is certainly not everything when people are assessing their careers.  Of course, if people feel they are being paid sizeably below the market level for their role and experience, they will look for a move.  But if people feel they are being paid fairly for what they do, then reasons 1 and 2 are much more prominent.  In addition, if the complaint is solely about money and someone feels they should be paid more, they may then look externally and achieve a higher offer elsewhere, only to be bought back by their current employer, and so may well not leave the organisation. 

4.     Better flexible working options.  Working at a desk in the same office from 8.30pm to 5.30pm is becoming a thing of the past, and a lot of organisations have recognised this and can now offer more flexible working e.g. 9-day fortnight or 1 day per week from home.  Technology and the web have assisted greatly on this, and so a lot of tax roles can be done remotely from another location e.g. from home.  Any employers that have not embraced technology or havent recognised flexible working will find their staff turnover increasing. 

5.     Change experience.  People inherently love to learn, and develop new skills and experience.  And this can lead to better opportunities and career advancement.  This could be less to do with their current employer, but just a feeling of needing to get different experience, which they may not be able to get with their current employer.  In the tax market, a classic example of this could be someone who feels quite locked into a tax compliance role, but wants to get more exposure into tax planning / advisory work.   

I think it is advisable that Managers of people and teams be mindful of the above points, and to assess how their better performing people may be thinking in relation to these 5 factors.  If they are ignored, there could be an increased risk of one or more team members moving on because they are ‘looking for a new challenge’.

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posted by Simon Godley


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