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Warning: you might be overstaying in your job

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Research shows that nearly a third of UK workers are willing to stay at a company for five years or more without being promoted. 

If you count yourselves as one of those employees happy to stick around, we get it. Maybe you value the flexibility of the job, or love your short daily commute. You might count your colleagues as close friends. And of course being able to do the role with your eyes closed by now is also a bonus. 

Of course, there are situations when employees want - or need - to work in one place for the long-term and there’s no one-size-fits-all rule. 

But if you’re staying because you’re unsure of trying something new or are scared of taking a risk, there should be warning bells ringing.

The brutal truth is that sitting in the same job for too long without moving up won’t do your career any good. And most recruitment experts agree that five years is definitely too long.

Being passed over for promotion can dent your confidence and morale – even more so if you don’t take steps to change your situation. Let’s look at the other things that overstaying in one role can hurt. 

Overstaying hurts your skill set 

Keeping skills and knowledge up to date is crucial, and once you start to fall behind it’s hard to catch up again. The only way to build up different perspectives and diverse skills is by working for different organisations. 

As we’ve mentioned before at HR GO, one soft skill that we’ve noticed employers are increasingly looking for is adaptability: being flexible and able to adapt to changing priorities in the workplace. 

And it’s clear that staying at the same job doesn’t give you the same chances to try and learn new things than if you switched. 

Overstaying hurts your contacts list 

Building up a professional network is an important part of getting on in your career. And when you stay in one job for too long, you miss out on chances to meet different professionals – think colleagues, managers or clients. 

The result of a skinnier contacts list? Less people to help you – whether that’s with a solid LinkedIn recommendation, good reference, work referral or just enrich your workdays with different perspectives, inspiration and advice.

Overstaying hurts your income 

If you appear happy to stay on at the same level your employer could start taking you for granted. 

How might that translate to your income? Industry research suggests that employees who stay with one employer too long get paid 50% less over the course of their careers. 

Overstaying hurts your CV 

Sticking long-term at the same job suggests that you lack the motivation to succeed. The risk is that potential employers will scan your CV wanting to see career progression and be disappointed when they can’t. 

Putting in the years in the same place also suggests you’re stuck in a rut and might struggle to adapt to a new way of doing things in a different job. (You can read our tips on how to work up the best CV here). 

Making the decision to go

If you’re in your work comfort zone it might take a while to realise it’s time to move on. But making the leap to another organisation that can help you reach your potential is the only smart way forward. 

Our advice: pledge to move up or move out. We bet you won’t regret it.

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