There is a perspective that if you entertain the thought of moving jobs within three to six months of bonus season, you will jeopardise your annual bonus payment. Often in the months of October, November and December candidate start to withdraw themselves from pursuing opportunities in lieu of and an expected bonus payment.
The reality is that the you can never be sure when the right time to look for the next step could actually be and you may actually be in a better position in your career if you take on a new role during this period. Of course you may lose out on your bonus in the short term, but think about the potential for a higher base salary, better career prospects and potentially securing a pro rata bonus in your new role. Would you really be losing out?
It is, of course, easier said than done, particularly if the expected bonus is a significant amount of money. Security is important and people make financial decisions based on what should be coming to them. However, there is an argument that the bonus and a fantastic career opportunity should be considered in isolation if possible. Any new job is likely to include a rise in base salary, and hopefully, a better overall package and benefits. Combine that with your increased happiness and motivation resulting in better productivity and performance, potentially leading to better prospects and bigger bonuses next year. The figures may even mean that this upcoming bonus is less important and a career move more financially beneficial. Furthermore, if in November you are 5 months away from a March bonus pay-out, on a regular 3-month notice period you realistically won’t start a new job for 8 months. That’s a long time to sit tight if you’re already considering moving! Pro rata bonus schemes are sometimes available and if your new employer has one, then your 2019 bonus could be smaller if you stay where you are now for longer. And who knows when the next great opportunity will present itself?
We completely appreciate that decisions surrounding bonuses and leaving will always be down to the individual on whether they are prepared to risk it or even live without it. But our experience around this time of year tells us to consider the bigger picture if possible and that waiting for your bonus before even getting your CV up to date isn’t always the best policy.