Should you resign after two years in your finance job?

There’s one thing we all have in common as financial services professionals here in the United States. We have the highest professional voluntary job turnover out of our economic competitors.

According to HealthStatus, two of the top 5 stressors we face culturally include death of a loved one on par with job stress, emphasizing the weight an unsatisfactory career can put upon our wellbeing.

Is it time to move on from your job in financial services?

It’s been less than two years at your current role. What are the long term professional implications of leaving early in your tenure, or what can you do to salvage your current situation?

Changing roles on a limited basis can be a good thing. It bolsters professional credentials, shows initiative, and demonstrates career progression. But when switching roles becomes a theme, candidates lose market value.

I tell candidates to hang tight for three years of quality, hard work, and demonstratable success (and track record) in their current roles before considering moving – especially if there are other short job tenures on their resumes.

Appearances matter

Employers dislike frequent job moves. Five jobs at Director and MD level is the magic number at which things turn bad, according to our data.

A survey conducted by Whitney Partners unfolded that frequent job movers are seen by interviewers as 1) less faithful to their employer 2) unsatisfactory performance in their current role, 3) difficult to work with.

A hiring manager scans a resume in less than two minutes and makes a judgment call. While it is understandable that certain job situations may be unbearable, you therefore need to ask yourself whether resigning early is worth the blemish on your resume.

Bolster your current position before you move 

If you’ve only spent a couple of years at a firm, before moving on you should first try and rectify things in your existing role. That way you will position yourself for a better bid in the future.

Before you accept an offer somewhere else, try tactfully addressing your dissatisfaction with your current firm. They may be unaware of your unhappiness, and may incentivize you to stay.

It might be that you decide to resign anyway. These are the five reasons why people decide to move on from jobs in finance, and how you can address them: 

Compensation. Ask your manager or HR department about your future comp trajectory. Discuss what your financial needs are and what you should be expecting going forward.

Cultural issues. Have a conversation with HR or a trusted senior about why the team dynamic is not working for you. Ask for feedback on how you can be a better communicator.

Role trajectory. Many professionals feel frustrated by their lack of promotion. Try suggesting a review, or make time to sit down with your supervisor to discuss your growth potential.

Lifestyle convenience. Commuting three hours a day to work, or being on the road for excessive periods of time are familiar challenges when you have a finance job in America. However, working remotely is not unheard of nowadays. Many CT-based firms allow city-dwelling employees the perk of working part-time from New York. 

Job risk. In asset management and banking job losses are a constant risk as firms shutter or face acquisition. If you’re moving because of concerns about the security of your role, it’s worth discussing the situation with your superior prior to your resignation.


Alexis DuFresne is a senior recruitment consultant with a focus on front-office roles in the asset management search practice at Whitney Partners and the former director of investor relations at Harbert Management Corp. (HMC), a $3bn alternative asset management firm.


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