Thinking of a job switch? It might be worth the risk

During a pandemic that’s hobbled the economy and left many Americans without work, it can feel like a risky time to pursue another job opportunity if you’re currently employed. 

Millions have filed for unemployment, faced pay cuts or lost hours due to the outbreak of Covid-19. Some who were poised to pursue new opportunities are now sitting in limbo due to the pandemic, reports The New York Times

But while some companies are putting hiring on hold, others are flourishing and opportunities remain.

“Interviews are still happening, and so is hiring,” Debora Roland, vice president of human resources at CareerArc, told Business Insider. “... Job seekers should still be on the lookout and will need to be more flexible about what their new role will look like.” 

With the risk and uncertainty the pandemic has wrought, nearly two-thirds of executives in a recent survey say they’re uninterested in a career move right now, according to executive search firm Salveson Stetson Group. May data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed 2.1 million people quit their jobs, down 41% compared to May 2019, The Wall Street Journal reports.

“So many people just really want to kill it,” during their first few months in a new role, executive coach Michele Woodward told The Wall Street Journal. “How do you kill it over Zoom? It’s impossible.” 

In its survey of more than 500 directors, senior vice presidents, and C-suite executives, SSG discovered 64% aren’t interested in switching jobs during the pandemic. For the right opportunity, however, 57% said they would accept a job even if they couldn’t meet with a manager face-to-face or get a feel for the work environment.  

“If a company is truly invested in recruiting the best talent, it will need to craft a unique and compelling value proposition for fully employed potential candidates who are currently sitting on the sidelines,” said SSG cofounder and principal Sally Stetson, per SSG.

General managers and C-suite executives were the least interested in a career change; senior vice presidents and vice presidents were more willing to pursue a new role. By industry, healthcare professionals were most likely to consider another opportunity, while executives in the professional services industry showed the least interest, per SSG.

More are willing to switch jobs if they can avoid relocating, SSG found. While 66% said they would not accept a job that required relocation, 82% said they would take a position that was remote-only. 

Despite a number of uncertainties presented by the pandemic, Woodward told The Wall Street Journal her clients often take the chance on the new opportunity. 

“There’s this concern that we could be in this situation for a whole year,” she told The Wall Street Journal. “Why not just do it?” 

Women are more likely than men to express interest in leaving their jobs based on their pandemic experience. Many working mothers hope the pandemic results in greater flexibility for working parents, so some might be inspired to pursue opportunities with employers offering that.

Erin Lantz, who recently left Zillow to become chief revenue officer at Ethos, said remote recruitment and onboarding weren’t starkly different than in-person processes, per Fast Company.

Those thinking of making a career move should look into a prospective employer’s financial health, keep long-term career goals in mind and consider a partner’s ability to take on a greater share of duties at home during the first months on the job, per The Wall Street Journal.

Lantz said one-on-one Zoom calls with coworkers and making time for non-work conversation have been beneficial as she’s gotten acclimated to her new role, per Fast Company. 

On the bright side, these strange pandemic times might foster a particular bond among new hires who onboard together. 

“I understand that those bonds are probably stronger in person, but, at the same time, we had this unique situation that bonded us in a way that not many people can say that they have,” Jenna West, who started a new job as a public relations manager for Workhuman just as the company shifted to remote work in March, told Marketplace