In the wake of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, employment has been dubbed the “Great Resignation”. Many health-sector employees, taking advantage of the wide-scale skills shortages that followed an unprecedented increase in consumer demand, negotiated better work conditions and salaries with their employers. Some employees chose to switch jobs altogether, many more than once.
Here are 7 pitfalls to consider before you make the switch.
1. Danger money
The health-care practices offering pay well above market rates may be offering you “danger money”. Some practices struggle to retain staff for a variety of reasons, so are forced to pay above-market sums simply to attract staff. Reasons may include poor HR practices, infection control and workplace culture, to name but a few. As a guide look for other long-serving current employees of the business in similar roles.
2. Cat-fished job descriptions
You may sign off on a job description you’re comfortable with, only to discover the new role comes with a series of tasks and expectations that are not worth the hours of unsupported physical and mental stress that comes with the pay increase. Be very clear on your proposed job description – not only in what it “includes” but also in what it excludes.
3. Could this be your very last pay rise?
The practices paying danger money to simply secure your services may struggle to offer another pay rise for a very long time. Apart from negotiating your new pay rate, also negotiate your next pay rise date and the approximate quantum of that rise if you meet the reasonable expectations set down for you in your new role.
4. The begrudging new boss or manager
Some practice owners and managers securing your services on danger money may “begrudge” the money they are paying you. Set to plague your relationship may be never-ending unrealistic and shifting expectations on your performance, hours of work, and additional duties.
5. Overtime denial
Your overtime hours may be disregarded in your new workplace. There may be expectations on you to start early, finish late and work through part of your lunch breaks, almost always unpaid. An expectation to work an additional 15 minutes at either end of the day and 15 mins into your lunch break will erode over 11% off your hourly rate on a standard 38-hours-per-week roster. Some businesses may also avoid paying overtime rates for weekend work and long shifts.
6. Fluctuating work hours
Whilst your minimum weekly hours are safe in good economic conditions, any downturn in business revenue or gaps in the appointment books may lead to a reduction of your weekly hours. Unwanted obligatory late starts and early finishes can eat heavily into your pay packet.
7. The dead-end move
Some roles within the health sector are a stepping stone to more learning and career development; others are dead-end roles with no career pathways. Carefully consider the pros and cons of choosing near-term financial upsides over career progression within your business and industry as a whole.