The pros and cons for your career of staying loyal to your employer

More people are job-hopping right now than ever before. The trend of people leaving their jobs in search of greener pastures elsewhere is so prevalent that economists have dubbed the trend the Great Resignation. This is partially due to people rethinking their career choices and goals following the workplace upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is also enhanced by the current labour shortage conditions, which make it a job seekers’ market right now.

There are plenty of opportunities out there for people looking to make a career move. Should you join the trend? It depends. There are advantages to changing jobs, but there are also benefits to sticking with your employer and showing loyalty to one company for longer periods of time.

Pros of job loyalty

There are numerous advantages to staying with one employer for an extended period. For one thing, loyal employees have greater opportunities to move up within an organization. Having multiple job titles on your resume at a single employer clearly demonstrates that you succeeded within your roles and were given more responsibilities. The longer your stay and the more you progress, the greater your value will be to your employer. The institutional knowledge you have gained from working at various levels throughout the company can be invaluable to decision-making.

This is also the kind of career growth that future employers will like to see, making it easier for you to be hired for increasingly senior roles elsewhere. While job-hopping can be a red flag on candidate resumes for some hiring managers (44 percent of Canadian executives surveyed said they are not at all likely to hire a candidate with a history of job-hopping), demonstrated loyalty and career progression make you a star candidate when the time comes to move on.

Another advantage to staying in your job is the level of autonomy you can acquire in your role. Once you have demonstrated that you are a competent, talented professional on the job, your managers generally trust you to do your work and deliver the desired results. This often comes with flexible scheduling and minimal oversight, as you establish the routines that suit your work and lifestyle.

When you change jobs, however, you have to prove your abilities and your work ethic all over again to a whole new team. This generally includes a higher level of scrutiny of your work activities and micromanaging the results you deliver. Ironically, avoiding being micromanaged and constantly scrutinized are among the top reasons people choose to change jobs in the first place. But trust has to be earned, and this takes time.

Cons of job loyalty

Too much loyalty to one employer comes with two big negatives for your career. The first is that it can negatively impact your earning potential. It has often been noted that employers have more flexibility in the salary packages they offer new hires – particularly those they are trying to poach from rival firms – than they provide for their existing staff in annual raises.

Even when you move up through the ranks at work, take on more responsibility, and are given a higher job title, the money that comes with your new position will almost always be less than you would be paid by a competing organization offering you a similar position.

So, changing companies is usually your best opportunity to see a noticeable boost in your salary.

The other major drawback to staying with one employer for too long is that it can limit your career progression. While many companies say that they offer opportunities for career advancement for their staff, most will look externally when seeking candidates for a leadership position. Companies seek fresh perspectives, an outside point-of-view, and candidates with a variety of industry experience. This can cause them to overlook staff members with the potential to take on higher roles.

So, as much as future employers like to see career progression and job loyalty on your resume, it is sometimes necessary to sacrifice one in favour of the other. You often have to change employers to move up a step on the corporate ladder.

Current conditions

The latest Labour Force Survey from Statistics Canada puts the current unemployment rate in Canada at 5.8 percent.  At the same time, as companies are trying to make up for business lost during the pandemic lockdowns, they are also struggling to hire and retain staff. This makes it a particularly strategic time for you to talk to your employer about progressing in your career and taking on more responsibilities.

Hiring and onboarding new employees is time-consuming and expensive, particularly in a labour market such as we are currently experiencing. Most companies will be looking for ways to retain their existing staff and fill any roles they can through internal promotions and employee referrals right now. This provides you with an opportunity to achieve some of that internal career growth that can be so beneficial on your resume moving forward – when the time comes. You are in a strong negotiating position.

Just be sure to approach your employer professionally. Don’t threaten to leave or give them an ultimatum. Managers never respond favourably to such tactics. Just point out some of your key recent accomplishments and explain how you are ready for more responsibility and hope to take an increasingly senior role in your department. Hopefully, your loyalty and ambition will be rewarded.

If it is time to move on, however, be sure to leave on good terms. This is the period called the Great Resignation, after all, and many people are changing jobs. If you find another, more advanced position, your employer won’t take it personally – as long as you don’t make it personal.

So, don’t burn any bridges, call anyone out, or settle scores on your way out the door. Just explain that an opportunity for career advancement has been presented to you and that the time is right to take it. Give plenty of notice so that you don’t leave your current team in the lurch when you leave.

And be prepared for a counter-offer. Now, more than ever, employers are likely to try to offer alternative options to entice staff to change their minds about leaving.

Originally published on


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