Cost of Living Crisis: Should you Move Jobs?

Double-figure inflation rates are fuelling a cost of living crisis and with fears of a recession looming, it’s only natural many employees would be hesitant to make a career move right now.

But as Associate Director Annelies De Baere explains, even though there are some companies cutting costs and restructuring, there are also a lot of opportunities out there for people wanting to take on a new job and jumping while others are sheltering could just see you make your boldest career move yet. Why should you be looking for your #newyearnewview? Let us explain.

Competition for talent

Last year we saw many companies increase salaries and benefits in order to compete for talent and attract the employees they need. As companies raced to expand and recover from covid pandemic-inflicted downturns, the demand for employees of varying skill levels outweighed supply in many industries.

While we saw that slowdown in the last quarter of 2022, January and February are traditionally very busy times in recruitment and we can therefore expect this competitive trend to continue, though maybe not in all industries.

For Sebastian Bell, one of our senior recruiters covering the German chemical industry, his area has been particularly hard hit by the combination of the socioeconomic and political situation in the region.

He says the number of vacancies in his industry are somewhat down, though companies still need to hire. The stagnation of the market means they are more carefully considering who they hire and are still willing to pay more for the right person, resulting in some great opportunities for qualified candidates bold enough to make a move right now.

Securing a pay rise with a job move

With many companies still in a mindset to attract talent with competitive offerings, it seems many are not willing, or are unable to respond to the cost of living crisis with across-the-board salary increases or adjustments to benefit packages.

So with beating the cost of living increases on the minds of most people, moving jobs could be the answer.

Last year we saw specifically qualified candidates receiving 10 to 25% remuneration increases when moving jobs, which is not something we would expect any business to be able to offer as a general payrise, though it is of a level to compete with the cost of living increase.

While those higher level increases were often specific to highly-specialised roles in certain sectors, we did see a general betterment of financial well-being across the board for our candidates, which is something we expect will continue for some time yet.

Depending on the industry you work in, you could also take this opportunity to avoid potential wage freezes or redundancies instigated by a widespread recession by moving into a more stable sector.

However, according to Annelies, who headhunts in the Benelux life sciences industry, any new role should be right for your long-term career aspirations as moving purely for money could put you on a different path and have overall detrimental effects on your career that might take years to undo.

Fortune favours the bold

As Annelies says, if you’ve taken the time to determine what you really want from your career long term, you’ll be well placed to recognise when the right new opportunity arises and take that step to move companies.

“As professional recruiters, we can help you with this planning given our unique positioning between employee and employer and therefore understanding where the opportunity lies for your particular career aspirations”.

On the other side, Sebastian says, for companies that can afford it, making the bold move to increase salaries or offer cost-of-living supplements in this environment could not only lead to a general increase in employee wellbeing and happiness, but have a positive impact on their employer brand which we know is a huge factor in attracting the right talent, thus making it easier to hire in the longer term.

It’s expected SMEs will be particularly hard hit by any recession but there are still opportunities to be found to increase employee wellbeing that might not be directly financial, he says. This includes things related to our intrinsic needs of feeling valued, feeling our voices are heard, feeling our role and work has a real purpose. That ultimately comes back to good internal communication within businesses.

In addition, based on conversations our recruiters had with thousands of candidates last year, SMEs remain attractive places for many to work due to better contact with senior leaders, a perception of better workplace culture, and often more of a focus on good work-life balance.