Quitting your company soon after you’ve been promoted sounds counter-intuitive, but it can be the best way to secure even more money and a better job. If your own firm wants you enough to promote you, why wouldn't your competitors want you even more?
Headhunters said they regularly targeted those who had recently stepped up the career ladder, and such bankers are often willing to consider leaving.
Ashish Malhotra, for example, was promoted by Bank of America Merrill Lynch in March to head of debt capital markets for Asia, only to join Standard Chartered this month as its new boss of syndicate Asia. Here are some reasons to consider making a move like Malhotra’s.
In the hierarchical world of investment banking, it often makes sense to move after a promotion, said Anton Murray, director of Sydney search firm Anton Murray Consulting. “If you become a vice president at your current firm, you’re suddenly in a better position to get a VP role at other banks,” he said. “I’ve seen people stay on at a firm they dislike until their promotion, which then made it easier to jump ship at a more senior level.”
If you leave your job on the career “high” of a promotion, you have more leverage to push for higher pay elsewhere, said Priscilla Chen, senior consultant at recruiters Kerry Consulting in Singapore. “A promotion in responsibility with the same employer, especially at a senior level, does not always commensurate with a proportionate increase in salary,” she said. “So if your main motivation is for higher pay, there is little incentive to stay on.”
In financial services, news of your promotion will spread quickly, if not via the media then across your own professional networks, said Tony Latimer, an executive coach at the Asia-Pacific Corporate Coach Institute in Singapore. “Getting a better position automatically puts you on the radar of other financial institutions,” he said. “At a senior level especially, demand for talent frequently outstrips supply in Asia, so the recruiting guns will soon turn in your direction.” This is the best time to jump ship, when you're on the radar of the recruiting industry.
If you're headhunted, the position at the new company will usually be a step up from the role you’d just taken internally, said Craig Brewer, a director at recruitment firm Hudson in Singapore. “Don’t think that changing jobs so soon after a promotion is a bad thing,” he said. “You can effectively fast forward your career by three to five years by making the move now rather than waiting that long for the next round of promotions. Given the current uncertainty in the banking sector, the opportunity to move forward rapidly is usually worth taking.”
If you’ve been with your company for several years, jumping ship could stop you from stagnating, giving you more opportunities to learn new skills compared with an internal move, said Scott Spaulding, principal consultant at Bravo Consulting Group, a career-coaching firm in Melbourne. If asked by the new bank why you want to leave post-promotion, Spaulding recommended the following answer: “Although it was a promotion based on my performance, there was limited scope in the new role for learning. That is what appeals to me about this position – the chance to learn new products and skills.”
If you hated your company before your move, chances are you still will once the promotion honeymoon period is over, said Murray from Anton Murray Consulting. “Most of these people keep on looking, or it only takes them three to six months before do. So sometimes a promotion doesn’t really help a bank retain people,” he added.
Even if you’re sick of your employer, do all you can not to let this show when you leave; you may need references from your boss. “Make sure that you handle the resignation and exit process carefully,” said Brewer from Hudson. “Explaining that the role on offer is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is important in case you employer is disappointed about the timing of the move.”