For 21 years, we have been talking to professionals in the plastics, packaging, and polymer technology industries about their careers. That conversation sometimes results in a person considering a job change. Of the thousands of people who have ended up accepting a new position, I can honestly say that the move has always been a good thing for them and their family. How can we say that? Because there are only six fundamental reasons why professionals change jobs. Unless some of these reasons exist, we advise the person to consider other options within their present company. Starting with reason number six, we will look at each of these in more detail.
The sixth most-common reason plastics professionals consider a job change is family, which often requires a change of location. Many people will only consider a relocation to a specific place, quite often either where they have family, such as aging parents, adult children, or grandchildren, or to return to a place they think of as “home.” That is often the place where they, or their significant other, were raised, but it also can be an adopted home, such as their college town or a place where they have lived before.
This is a two-sided coin to be sure. The plastics manufacturing industry is not concentrated in a few states, but is fairly well dispersed throughout the country. If you are working at one of the only thermoformers in your state, you may have little choice but to relocate to advance your career. But if you do want to move to a specific area of the country, the plastics industry is better positioned to accommodate that requirement than many other industries.
Reason number five: Better compensation
There was a time after WWII when compensation, benefits, and stability were the main reasons people stayed with their employer. Over the decades, those reasons have lost some of their appeal, but they still come in at number five for making a job change.
To be clear, I would never advocate that anyone change jobs solely for money, but everyone is familiar with the bell curve. If you picture a bell curve consisting of the salaries and benefits of everyone in your job category, someone is at the top, and someone is at the bottom. The people at the bottom usually did not start there, but perhaps they have been at the same company for a very long time, getting 2 to 3% raises every year, while people making job changes see a significant increase. Even a one-time bump of 10 to 15% propels someone four to five years ahead of a peer getting small annual increases. If you love everything about your job, but you are near the bottom of the compensation range for that job, you should lay out a solid case and ask for a raise.
Related to compensation is job stability, which, for our purposes, is the likelihood of your income continuing. As we have been reminded recently, the world is an uncertain place. Plastics manufacturing is fertile ground for mergers, acquisitions, and consolidations. Even in the best of times, facilities close, so we should all keep our eyes open to that possibility.
We are just getting started with this topic, so please check back next week when we explore reasons number three and four.
About the author
Paul Sturgeon is CEO of KLA Industries, a national search firm specializing in plastics, packaging, and polymer technology. If you have a topic you would like to see discussed, a company that is growing, or other ideas for this blog, e-mail Sturgeon at firstname.lastname@example.org.