Switching jobs healthy and acceptable, bosses told

by Ida Nadirah Ibrahim, Anith Adilah and May Robertson

KUALA LUMPUR, May 3 — Multiple career transition is healthy and acceptable for those looking for career advancement.

Talent acquisition specialist Vera Lowe said employees should branch out and not get complacent working at the same place.

“Changing jobs would allow people to learn new skills and be exposed to different environments,” she said.

“This would offer workers more career opportunities in the future.” 

Lowe said three years should be the minimum someone should stay in a company. However, it was not healthy to change jobs every three years if one did not have a reason to leave. 

“Depending on your job, you should not remain at the same company beyond five years if there is no room for career advancement. There is no point staying on just because you feel comfortable as you would not learn anything new,” she said.

Lowe said employees must learn new skills to remain relevant to the workforce.

“In the recruitment industry, for example, employers have opted for the use of video interviews to hire people, making recruiters redundant,” she said.

Lowe said recruiters traditionally acted as a liaison between a client and potential employers, but the gap was slowly closing because of technology. 

To adapt to the change, Lowe said she and her colleagues had talked about developing their own mobile application where job-seekers could approach potential employers.

“We are adapting by talking about starting a mobile application,” she said. 

“Introducing applications may be a good way for job-seekers to get consultation with recruiters and reach out to companies.”

Recruitment agency director Allan Cheah said it was acceptable to change jobs every five years to find better opportunities. 

“If companies are unable to offer career advancements, it is only fair for people to move on to other ventures,” he said.

“But there are also cases where people switch jobs only to realise it’s not the right company for them.’’ 

Cheah said while some companies offered training to their staff, employees must also take steps to equip themselves with the necessary skills to perform better.

However, Malaysian Trade Union Congress president Abdul Halim Mansor said most employers would expect employees to help drive the company’s success, so short stints at multiple workplaces did not bode well for them.

“Most employers expect their workers to build careers around their own company,” he said. 

“If they see a potential worker who had worked in many workplaces, they would less likely hire the said person solely on the basis of lack of loyalty.” 

Their comments were in response to Singapore labour chief Chan Chun Sing, who encouraged Singaporeans to take up more than two jobs throughout their careers to make themselves adaptable to the ever-changing economy. 

Abdul Halim said as of now, Malaysia cannot emulate Singapore’s stand as both countries have different criteria when recruiting an employee.

He said most Malaysian employers placed academic qualifications over skills.

“The problem with our country is we do not recognise work experience formally. Although one would get promoted throughout his entire career, it is highly unlikely that it would help them later on when seeking new job opportunities. Employers still want to look at your paper qualification,” he said.

Alluding to this year’s Labour Day theme, “Creative Workers Spur Innovation”, Abdul Halim said it would be difficult to cultivate such a culture as employees rarely see eye to eye with their employers.

“Sometimes, when an employee tries to be creative within the job scope, the employer fails to see it as an initiative, and vice versa. This needs to be fixed before we lose more talents to countries which are willing to offer higher salaries to our workers,” he said.