Making a lateral (or sideways) career move can be a polarising subject. For some, the thought of transitioning to a new role at a similar level to your current position is strategically viable; to others, it’s professional suicide.
But don’t knock it, until you’ve weighed up the pro’s and cons. We’re seeing a surge in interest around lateral moves with more professionals citing growth, culture and flexibility as key drivers for making a sideways change.
Why would you make a lateral move?
There’s no doubt about it, the current market is not enjoying the oversupply of opportunities available a year ago. While some decide to hunker down and stay put in periods of uncertainty, others are adopting a more strategic approach to improve their long-term career prospects.
Here are the main drivers we see:
- Enhancing Skills and Knowledge: A side move can provide an opportunity to learn new skills or gain expertise in a different area of your field. This can make you a more well-rounded and versatile professional.
- Career Growth: Sometimes, a lateral move is a stepping stone to vertical advancement in the future. It can demonstrate your adaptability and willingness to take on new challenges, which may lead to promotions down the line.
- Work-Life Balance: If your current role is demanding and affecting your work-life balance negatively, a lateral move to a role with similar responsibilities but better work-life balance can lead to a more sustainable and fulfilling career.
- Company Culture: If you love your current company’s culture but are seeking a different role, a lateral move within the same organization can allow you to maintain that cultural fit.
- Change of Environment: Issues with your current boss or coworkers can impact job satisfaction. Moving laterally to a different environment can offer a fresh start allowing you to reconnect with the role at hand.
- Transition to a New Industry: If you’re looking to change industries, a side move might be necessary to enter a new field at a similar level until you gain relevant experience.
Our Top Tips For Making a Lateral Career Move
If you are considering a sideways move, we recommend doing the following first:
- Seek Advice – Talk to a trusted advisor, your recruiter, mentor or supervisor. Explain your motivations and seek their honest perspective.
- Be clear about your Drivers – Delve into the details!
What do you want out of a lateral move?
Are you upskilling, changing industry or building a stronger career path? Be clear about how such a move aligns with your long-term strategy!
3. Set Goals – Determine what you want to get out of a lateral career change. Write down your necessary requirements and areas for development. Set timelines and keep yourself accountable.