Episode #36 – The Hidden Advantages of Making a Lateral Move

The Hidden Advantages of Making a Lateral Move

Sharita: Welcome to “The Animal Health Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, search consultant Stacy Pursell, founder and CEO of The VET Recruiter, provides insight and practical advice for both companies and job seekers in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help Animal Health and Veterinary organizations acquire top talent, while helping professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

In today’s podcast, we’ll be talking about lateral moves within the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. Welcome, Stacy. Thank you for joining us.

Stacy: Hello, I’m glad to be here today.

Sharita: Let’s start today’s podcast with a definition. What is a lateral move in the Animal Health or Veterinary employment marketplace?

Stacy: A lateral move is when a professional takes an Animal Health or Veterinary job that is very similar to the job they already have. And the jobs can be similar in a lot of ways. They could be similar in terms of hierarchy, in terms of duties and responsibilities, and even in terms of salary and compensation.

Sharita: We’ve talked a lot about passive candidates in the past. We’ve discussed the fact that most of the time, they won’t consider a new employment opportunity unless it’s better than the one they currently have. Is that correct?

Stacy: Yes, in the majority of cases, that’s correct.

Sharita: So is it true that top passive candidates would not be interested in a lateral move?

Stacy: As a general rule, yes, that’s true. However, one of the reasons I want to talk about lateral moves on today’s podcast is that in some cases, they offer hidden advantages.

Sharita: What do you mean by that, hidden advantages?

Stacy: I mean that a lateral move should not be dismissed immediately. It should at least be considered, because it might hold some advantages that are not readily apparent.

Sharita: Stacy, let’s start with the reasons that some professionals in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession tend to shy away from lateral moves. What are those reasons?

Stacy: Well, there are a few of them, and they’re all based on the perceptions or the preconceived notions of the candidate.

The first perception is that the candidate believes the move will not help them to advance their career. Now while that might be the case with some lateral moves, it does not apply to every lateral move. There are some moves that make sense from the perspective of advancing one’s career. However, if the candidate does not at least consider the move and investigate it, then they won’t know for sure what advancement potential it possesses.

Sharita: What’s another perception that candidates have about lateral moves?

Stacy: The second perception is that they believe they won’t be challenged enough if they make a lateral move.

Previously on this show, we’ve talked about how top candidates and top employees like to be challenged. They enjoy challenging work, and that’s a big consideration for them when it comes to another employment opportunity. Once again, the candidate won’t know how much they’ll be challenged unless they consider the opportunity and explore it.

Sharita: Are there any other perceptions or preconceived notions that candidates have about lateral moves?

Stacy: Yes, they believe that they won’t make more money with a lateral move. Additional compensation is one of the reasons that top candidates make a move in the marketplace. Not only do they want challenging work, but they also want to be rewarded for the value they bring to an employer.

So when a top candidate hears the words “lateral move,” they may automatically also hear the words “lateral pay.” That can and does put them off.

Sharita: But that’s not necessarily the case, is it?

Stacy: It’s not, and we’re going to discuss that and other aspects of lateral moves in the second half of our podcast. Before we continue, though, I’d like to talk about the fact that there are two types of lateral moves.

Sharita: Okay. What are those two types?

Stacy: The first type is a lateral move that a professional makes within their employer. In other words, they change jobs, but they do so within the same organization.

The second type is a lateral move that a professional makes within the employment marketplace at large. In other words, while their title and their duties remain similar, they change jobs and they also change employers at the same time.

Sharita: Which type are we primarily discussing today?

Stacy: The second type, where a person changes both jobs and employers at the same time.

Sharita: As an Animal Health Recruiter and Veterinary Recruiter, that’s the type you’ve had the most experience with, is that correct?

Stacy: Yes, when a professional in the Animal Health Industry or Veterinary Profession makes a lateral move within their employer, I often do not know that’s the case. However, I’ve witnessed lateral moves between different organizations on numerous occasions. As a result, those are the ones I have the most experience with and the ones that I can talk the most confidently about.

And what I would like to do is address all of the concerns that we listed earlier, all of the perceptions that candidates typically have regarding lateral moves.

Sharita: The first perception that we discussed was career advancement, is that correct?

Stacy: That’s correct. Even if a professional makes a move from one employer to another with approximately the same title and duties, there can be opportunity for career advancement.

Sharita: What opportunities would those be?

Stacy: First, there may be limited advancement opportunities available within the person’s current employer. Some organizations have more room to grow than others. In such a situation, a person may find that they can advance their career more easily and quickly with another organization, even if they have to make a lateral move to that organization in order to make it happen.

There are other opportunities, as well. Even though it’s a lateral move, the candidate will undoubtedly have new experiences with their new employer. Their duties and responsibilities will not be 100% the same, and those differences will help them professionally. They may encounter new software, they may have access to new training programs, and they’ll definitely be surrounded by a new set of co-workers. People often underestimate how their co-workers and colleagues can help them to grow their career.

Networking is extremely important in terms of career advancement, and the more people that you know within your chosen field, the better.

Sharita: What about the second perception, the one stating that the person won’t be challenged enough by a lateral move?

Stacy: Whenever you take someone and put them into completely new surroundings, that in and of itself is challenging. I don’t think anybody has ever changed jobs and seen it as a completely boring experience.

Not only that, but something else I’ve noticed during my 20 plus years as a search consultant is that the best employers and candidates in the marketplace consistently challenge themselves. In fact, they typically look for new and creative ways to do so. They find challenges where other people don’t see any challenges, and in some cases, they see challenges where other people only see obstacles.

So when it comes to challenging work, part of it does fall upon the employer and the type of work that the person is doing. However, part of it also falls on the employee or the candidate. If they’re finding ways to challenge themselves in their current position and they’re considering a lateral move, then they should be able to find ways to challenge themselves in that position, as well.

However, keep in mind that the move must be one that will truly advance their career. Not every lateral move is a good one to make. But some lateral moves are good. The key is to identify which move is a good move.

Sharita: What about the final perception, the one in which candidates believe they won’t earn more money by making a lateral move to another organization?

Stacy: I can tell you without a doubt that in the majority of cases, professionals make more money when they make a move to another organization.

Sharita: Is that even when the move is considered a lateral one?

Stacy: Yes, and allow me to explain why that’s the case, and we’ve touched upon this in previous podcasts.

The fact of the matter is that employees who stay with the same organization for an extended period of time typically receive 2% or 3% raises annually. The problem arrives when you factor in inflation, which you have to do. When you do that, you realize that these are actually “cost of living raises.”

Sharita: What does that mean, exactly?

Stacy: Well, if you receive a raise of 2% during the calendar year and the cost of living increases 2% during that same calendar year, then in effect, you’ve received no raise at all.

Sharita: Right, because the amount of the raise was actually eaten up by the rise of inflation and the corresponding increase in the cost of living?

Stacy: Yes, that’s right. However, when a professional in the Animal Health industry or Veterinary profession is considering another organization’s employment opportunity, the organization has to entice the candidate to work for them. That enticing often entails more in the way of salary and compensation. At the very least, it’s usually more than 3%. In many cases, the amount of increase in terms of starting salary is 5% and can sometimes be as much as 10% and more.

Sharita: Is that the case even if it’s a lateral move?

Stacy: Yes, that can absolutely be the case, and once again, it’s because the employer has to entice the candidate to work for the organization. Even though it’s a lateral move, the employer has to convince the candidate to quit their job and come to work for them.

And as we wrap up today’s podcast, there’s one more thing that professionals should keep in mind.

Sharita: What’s that?

Stacy: If a recruiter contacts you about a position and it appears to be a lateral move, you should at least consider it.

Sharita: Why is that?

Stacy: As an Animal Health Recruiter and Veterinary Recruiter, I know that a top passive candidate will not consider an opportunity unless it’s better than the one they have. As a result, I will not typically contact a candidate unless I know that the opportunity holds potential and value for them. If I don’t think it does, then I won’t contact them.

So if you’re a candidate and I contact you about an opportunity, then the very fact I’m contacting you is proof that you should at least consider the opportunity. Even if it appears to be a lateral move.

Sharita: Stacy, thanks once again for sharing all of this great information with us today.

Stacy: Thank you, Sharita. I look forward to our next podcast!