Is Fourth Quarter A Good Time to Change Jobs?

Fourth quarter job change

People typically begin evaluating their current job and their career goals in January. After all, it’s a time for reflection and New Year’s resolutions, but holding off on your job search until the first of the year is not always the best call. If you are considering making a job change, you might be surprised to learn that the fourth quarter is actually a great time to do so. It may be unconventional timing, but here are five reasons why you should seriously consider doing so:

1. New fiscal year business planning occurs in September. Budget and forecasting meetings take place in advance so companies can hit the ground running on January 2nd.  By the time the New Year rolls around, the executives and department heads have already determined their goals for that year, and they appreciate having a solid team in place when the calendars turn over to maximize the time available to reach those marks.

2. You have more leverage in a less crowded field of potential new hires. The vast majority of people only begin thinking about changing jobs in January and then wait until they receive their annual performance bonuses in March or April before making a move. This typically means the available talent pool is smaller for companies looking to hire new employees during the fourth quarter, so you have a better chance at getting the job you want at your desired salary level if you move before the first of the year.

3. You don’t necessarily have to sacrifice your performance bonus at your current company. If you are worried about losing that bonus since it is typically paid out in March or April, this is a key point to discuss with potential employers.  Many companies are willing to provide a sign on bonus to compensate for your loss of income. As a side note regarding bonuses, remember that many organizations require new employees to work for an entire year in order to receive the benefit of the full bonus the following year, so coming on board in the fourth quarter not only gives you room for negotiation with your compensation package, but also guarantees you the annual bonus for the following year.

4. Insurance programs usually have a flexible start date for new employees. It’s certainly wise to consider how changing jobs in the fourth quarter would affect your health insurance plan. Fortunately, most companies offer health coverage that goes into effect either immediately or on the first of the month after your start date.

5. New employers are generally quite understanding when it comes to your pre-planned vacations for the upcoming holidays. Many candidates are so apprehensive about losing that vacation time that they don’t even bother with starting a job search until afterwards. However, if you have been upfront about your holiday vacation schedule during interviews, most new employers are willing to be flexible and accommodate your personal time off needs, even though you’ve just been hired.

In conclusion, it does make a lot of sense to explore a career change in the fourth quarter, before the rest of the talent pool gets into the same transition mode. Starting fresh with a new company and team on January 2nd can be quite exciting and a boost to your morale. If you know you are ready for a change, why wait until January to make the decision when there are so many advantages to taking the plunge in the fourth quarter? 

For more information on this subject or to consult with a recruiter on a potential job search on our website, please contact us at JL Nixon Consulting.