Navigating bonus season: Clinching a new job

The demand for front office professionals in banking has always been high, and at the start of the year, employers are also more aggressively seeking new candidates, possibly eyeing potential ones from key competitors. For job seekers, it is an exciting time to seek out new opportunities. 

At the same time, with the upcoming bonus season, many may delay their job searches as most organisations require employees to be employed throughout their performance bonus period. Michele Manabat, senior consultant in the banking and financial services division at Robert Walters Philippines, determines and shares the following considerations for leaving or staying with your current company before obtaining your bonus pay-outs.

It’s time to go if: 

  • The right opportunity comes along. The right jobs are often ones you least expect to happen, so timing your move to avoid clashing with your bonus pay-out may not always be possible. If an opportunity you’re interested in comes along, don’t wait – as the employer may not be willing to wait till you are ready to leave.
  • You want a job at a highly sought-after organisation. Once bonuses are given out, there will be a surge in available candidates, and employers will have more options to choose from. If the goal is to move to a sought-after organisation, consider doing it while there is less competition during this bonus pay-out period.
  • It’s more worthwhile in the long run. Doing the math and determining your priorities and non-negotiables will go a long way in helping you decide. While you may miss out on a seemingly substantial amount now, you may find the move paying off in the long run, with a larger long-term earning potential. 


Consider staying at your current job if:

  • You’re not sure of what you want. If your main reason for moving is just to escape your current role, and you don’t have a good idea of what your next career step should be, it might be good to take the additional financial reward, while giving yourself time to reflect what your own career goals are.
  • There’s a chance of you changing your mind. Sending your application to employers indicates your interest to move. Inconsistency is not appreciated, and if you withdraw your application, or decline an offer because you accepted a counteroffer at your current job, it will not reflect well on you. Word will certainly spread in this closely connected industry, and you may find yourself at a disadvantage .
  • Your bosses or company will hold it against you. Although employers anticipate more employees leaving after bonus pay-outs, many will likely still react negatively to a resignation that comes right after the bonus season. Is it worthwhile burning these bridges? That’s something to consider as you may require their recommendations in the future.


As you start exploring new challenges in 2020, keep these considerations in mind. There is no perfect answer to whether you should stay for your bonus or leave immediately for a better opportunity. If you’re looking for more tailored career advice, approach Michele Manabat, and she will be able to share more on how to navigate the world of banking and bonus pay-outs. 

Alternatively, visit Robert Walters’ career advice page to read more tips.


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