Sep 15, 2015

    Career change tips to consider

    IN JANUARY, a survey by recruitment firm Michael Page showed that 67 per cent of professionals in Singapore are likely to leave their current role this year.

    Their main reasons for switching jobs? Career progression was the top priority for 25 per cent of respondents, while 23 per cent said a pay rise was the main motivator.

    More than 1,600 people were polled online.

    While a key reason for moving from one's current role is linked to a search for a higher salary, there are other important considerations one should think about when making a career move.


    A moderate 10 per cent increment in salary could justify a job move, but if there are significant reductions in other benefits, you should reconsider.

    These benefits include health insurance, car allowance, housing allowance for expatriates and perhaps, education reimbursements.


    How many vacation and sick leave days will you receive a year?

    Vacation days can differ quite a bit depending on your employer. Some foreign companies, such as European ones, can be more generous in terms of leave because of the longer vacation culture back home, but a company with an implicit "anti-vacation" policy may frown upon taking long holidays.

    Because time equals money, less vacation days also mean you work more for less pay, so do take note of this.

    You should also try to find out more about the culture of the company - is it generally acceptable to take long holidays or do employers frown upon this?

    If you have young children or are expecting one soon, check out your employer's policy on whether they offer flexi-work arrangements or allow you to take additional time off should you need it.

    While salary is important, work should not consume your life and take you away from more important priorities.


    Your working environment is extremely important because it will be the primary environment you stay in for more than 40 hours a week.

    There are some who prefer a more family-like environment, with colleagues becoming friends, and where having small chit-chat sessions during work is not frowned upon but even encouraged.

    However, if you are prone to distractions, you may prefer a work environment segregated by cubicles so that you can better focus on your task during your work day. It's important to be able to have a look at where you will be working in the future to ensure you are able to adapt accordingly.

    Other than just the physical environment, you should do some research to find out about a company's working culture.

    Are people generally motivated to push their limits or is it more of a stable environment where people are more concerned about working in a harmonious manner? Will you have a chance to learn new things? Will furthering your education be encouraged or be seen as a distraction from your job?


    Depending on the stage of life you're in, the company and job nature should complement your current lifestyle.

    If you need to leave work on time to be home with your family, are you able to do that? Do you need to spend an extra hour commuting to your new work place? Will you have time to go to the gym during your lunch hours or after work?

    Salary may not always be the No. 1 factor to consider when it comes to making a career move.

    Take a more holistic approach to job searching. A company's work environment, career prospects, fringe benefits, and work-life balance should also be equally important in your decision to change jobs.

    The writer is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of, a comparison website for financial products.

    This article first appeared on