“How much are they paying?” That’s always the first question a Singaporean asks when considering a new job opportunity.
Yet, selling yourself to the highest bidder isn’t always the best decision. Singapore companies tend to have very high turnover rates, and the Singaporeans’ low job satisfaction levels could be a sign that we just aren’t evaluating our job opportunities well, and ending up working for companies we’re unsatisfied with.
A company who’s willing to pay you $100 more per month may lure you away from your current post, but a few months after jumping ship you might realise you’ve signed yourself up for a dead end job, you are not being groomed for a better position or the company just isn’t doing well. Here are three things ambitious Singaporeans should think about before joining a new company.
The company’s potential for growth
It’s natural to be concerned about what your position will be when you enter a company. After all, nobody wants to go from being a manager to an executive, or be demoted from a senior position to a junior one.
But just because you’re promised a high position doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be good for you in the long run. If the company is experiencing stagnant growth or, worse, contracting, you’ll find that your opportunities for growth are limited.
In fact, 36% of the job hunters who responded to a survey earlier this year cited lack of career progression in their current jobs as the top motivator for their search for a new role.
Conversely, a company that’s rapidly expanding or in a booming industry is going to create new roles as the months or years go by, and you’ll be in a prime position to be promoted.
That could be one reason some young Singaporeans choose to work for startups instead of MNCs. If your company hits the big time and grows like crazy, your career could get a serious boost far faster than if you went the traditional route.
On the other hand, you want to think twice before stepping onto a career path in an industry that’s going through tough times or joining companies that have a dubious future or are actively laying off employees.
Know what your next step on the career ladder will be and whether the job will take you there
Singaporeans say career progression is important to them, yet those who take up a job with no idea of where they want to be in their careers a few years down the road cannot expect to sit back and let their employers do the planning for them.
While some jobs like those in the civil service offer very clear pathways, that’s not true for most private sector jobs these days. In many cases, to get ahead you will have to leave for another company in a few years.
So it really helps to have a general idea of which areas you’d eventually like to specialise in, or what sorts of roles you want to move towards in future. That way, you’ll be better able to assess if a particular job is a step in the right direction or actually just a waste of your time.
For example, let’s say you’ve been offered a role in a bank’s back office as an operations analyst. If your goal is to get transferred to a sales or middle office role at a bank, your job might not take you there in a direct way, but can give you valuable contacts and relevant knowledge you can use to help you get where you want to be.
The important thing is to know what your end goal is so you know exactly how to use your new role to get to where you want to be.
Is this a job in which you can exercise your strengths?
Whenever people get a job offer, they tend to think about what the company can offer them, and whether that’s better than what they’ve got in their current jobs.
But people forget that working is an exchange, and if you want to do well, you’ve got to give as good as you get. Just because a particular career path promises star performers a nice six figure salary a few years down the road doesn’t mean you’ll be one of them.
In order to shine in a role, it’s best to capitalise on your talents instead of doing something you suck at.
If you are the kind of person who’s so timid you freak out when the drink stall auntie tries to make conversation, you should probably shy away from sales roles.
If you’re the kind of person who zones out when doing administrative tasks or paperwork and are about as detail-oriented as an elephant, you might want to avoid working in areas like compliance.
After a year or two in the working world, you should have a better idea of where your strengths lie and what you really suck at. If you want to get ahead, you’ll need to be honest about what you can and cannot do well.
While there is something to be said about working on your weaknesses, you’ll progress faster if you work on building your talents and taking every opportunity to let them shine.
What other factors should ambitious young workers consider when evaluating a job offer? Tell us in the comments!
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