Sometimes a career doesn’t follow a straight line up the corporate ladder. Depending on your career goals this year, you may decide that a lateral move is the next best “forward” step on your career path.

What is a lateral move?

A lateral move is a shift from a position in one area of a company to an equal position in a different department, or different company altogether. Making a lateral move when changing jobs can sometimes be easier than a move to a higher position with a different company.

There are two types of lateral moves you can make:

  • Internal lateral move: You stay with your current company but take on a new role at your current professional level. This usually allows you to keep your benefits while trying something new and applying any transferable skills.
  • External lateral move: You leave your current company for either a similar role at a new company, or a new role with a different title, but at your current career level. 

5 reasons to consider a lateral move

It shouldn’t be considered a step back in your professional process; a lateral change can be just as beneficial for your career as any other move. 

Here are some of the top reasons you should consider making a lateral move when changing jobs this year: 

1.    Experience

Entering a new department or company can build your expertise and make you a more well-rounded professional, even if you’re entering into a similar position. 

Building experience will give you more of an edge when exploring higher ranked job options further down the line. For instance, you will have learned from a new set of peers and shown that you can adjust to a different setting. 

2.    Location

A lateral change can give way to a better job location. A new company that is offering the same role but is closer to home can be the equivalent of a bigger monthly take home, even if the pay scale is the same. Since the potential new business location is closer, the cost of commuting could be much lower.

This would result in more money in your pocket each month and more time on your hands. This is also true if your new company offers remote or flexible work while your former position did not.

3.    Extra benefits

A sideways career move, even within the same company, can add some extra perks to your job. This could include better work-life balance or flexibility, free gym memberships, travel expenses or a company culture that speaks more to the way you want to work. 

Other perks can also come with the new co-workers you will meet. Building more of a social network is valuable for the now, as well as the future. 

4.    Better management

More employees are inclined to leave their management or company leadership, than the job itself. Making a lateral move can allow you to work with a management team better suited to your professional needs or desired culture. 

5.    Higher pay scale

One of the biggest reasons for employees making career moves of any sort is the pay scale. The salary piece can be, and almost always is, a top tier reason for anyone to look for other job opportunities. 

In the case of a lateral move, the motivation may lay in management’s inability or unwillingness to provide a pay raise for the position. That drives the decision to look elsewhere for the same role with a salary that better matches the current market rate.  

Before making any career move, it’s important to know your worth ahead of time to ensure you can negotiate for the salary and benefits package you want and deserve. To make sure you do, check out our Salary Benchmarking Tool which allows to see exactly what you could be earning in your sector. 

What’s next? 

If you’re thinking of making a career move, take a look through our career advice section for expert tips and tricks on the hiring process, nailing your next interview, and negotiating your salary package. 

You can also reach out to one of our expert recruitment consultants today if you’d like assistance finding your next job opportunity.

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