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How long should you stay in one job?

Source | BBC News : By Katie Hope

Three years is the maximum length of time anyone should stay in a job, declared actor Peter Capaldi when he explained why he was stepping down from the Dr Who role after four years.

“I’ve never done one job for three years. This is the first time I’ve done this and I feel it’s time for me to move on to different challenges,” he said.

It’s a pretty short tenure compared to the old days when people secured a job after leaving school or university and then stayed there until they collected their golden carriage clock.

But increasingly, changing one’s job every few years is considered the norm.

In fact, a UK worker will change employer every five years on average, according to research by life insurance firm LV=.

In the US, it’s even shorter with people staying with a single employer for just over four years, according to official statistics.

But is there a magic number, one that will make sure you don’t stop progressing, but also doesn’t make you look too, well, flighty?

“It’s very specific to the person. It depends on their career plans, assuming they have any career plans and whether they feel they get the right amount of challenge and flexibility,” she says.

Ms McCartney does, however, believe there’s a minimum tenure, saying just three months in one role before moving on wouldn’t look good, unless it was driven by a change in personal circumstances.

She also says the size of an organisation can often be a factor in determining how long a person stays, with a smaller company often offering less opportunity for people to progress than a larger rival.

Victoria Bethlehem, the group head of talent acquisition at recruitment firm Adecco, says she looks favourably on a prospective employee who has changed roles every three to five years.

“Immobility is never desirable in a curriculum. This does not necessarily mean that the candidate needs to have changed several companies and employers.

“What’s important is to see the candidate has an open attitude to change and a continuous learning approach, driving him or her to embrace new challenges,” she adds.

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