Employer loyalty - a thing of the past?

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The "instant gratification' era has impacted on the workplace and impatient workers in search of "immediate corporate progression' have emerged.

So says Debbie Goodman, MD of Jack Hammer Executive Headhunters who places many of the top executives in SA’s leading corporations. She says many employees are now wanting and expecting to be fast tracked into top positions without paying the necessary "school fees’ and working their way up through the ranks.

"And, if they don’t feel the momentum towards the top positions almost immediately, many will move on to what they perceive are greener pastures within a matter of months".

"Nowadays its very common to see CV’s and employment histories that display tremendous mobility. Candidates typically work at a larger number of companies where they spend shorter periods of time before moving onto the next position in the next organization.

"Increasingly employees will drop a job they feel isn’t promoting them fast enough or use a position they don’t really want as a "filler’ to make them appear more attractive or hirable whilst searching for something better.'

Goodman says the backlash of this type of employment behaviour is that while the lucky few might find themselves in senior roles within a relatively short period of time by stepping on and over employers and colleagues - the large majority can end up killing their careers.

"From a headhunter’s point of view, a CV that shows signs of job hopping will be excluded from the prospective candidate pile. Companies will seriously question jumpy track records, and often opt for a less qualified candidate who shows staying power with a steady track record.

Candidates who try to explain an extremely fast trajectory by using the excuse that they "hit a ceiling’ or "no longer had any challenges’ are viewed with a substantial dose of skepticism by headhunters and employers.

"You find the truly successful top corporate leaders are generally extremely ethical individuals who have an illustrative track record of employer loyalty. They have usually done their time, by working their way up the ranks, gaining a solid grounding of experience readying them for their top positions.

"Their tenacity, commitment and humility will usually filter into every aspect of their careers and lives outside of the work place. These are professionals who have managed their careers by keeping the big picture in mind, recognizing that real success does not happen in an instant .'

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