Career

Here’s How To Tell If Your Employer Has Your Best Interests At Heart

As a young person with little-to-no real world experience, the first years of your career feel indebted to your employer. They plucked you from a pool of obscurity after all, and have plenty more minions to replace you with should you get a little too ambitious.

And while it’s a good idea to show gratitude, work hard and establish yourself early in your career, you should know the difference between an employer that’s helping you be better, and one that’s taking advantage of your naivety.

Jobs are like boyfriends. Just because you think you can’t do any better, doesn’t mean you should stay. Especially because in this day and age, changing companies is more common than staying at one for a period of time. According to a report from PriceWaterhouseCoopers, over 15% of millennials expect to have six employers or more in their lifetime. A figure that’s up 5% from less than ten years earlier and will continue to grow.

You should be at a company that appreciates and vouches for your future. Here are the signs that your employer is on your side.

#1 They talk about what’s next

Sarah Liu, founder and CEO of The Dream Collective said, “As corporate Australia becomes more and more competitive, corporate leaders need to continually be thinking about ways to better support and appeal to our future workforce leaders.”

A good company is going to realise that nurturing young talent to grow and learn is the most effective way to retain and manage their staff. It’s a win-win for both parties. Liu adds, “Realistically, there is no excuses for Australian corporates not to be supporting the ongoing growth and development of our future business leaders.”

If you feel like there’s no opportunity for growth at your company, especially if you’re in a junior position, you may want to reconsider what you’re getting out of all this.

#2 You have access to senior management

Do you feel comfortable approaching your big boss or does the thought make you want to whimper and run? It’s okay if it’s the latter because, same. I have a hard time having conversations with high profile or powerful people because for some reason, I think they can see right through to my soul. And when they do, they’ll realise it’s a pile of steaming, insecure garbage.

*breaks down internally*

But there’s a difference between being an anxious mess (me, probably most of us) and having an entirely unapproachable staff of senior management. Do you never see them? Do they never say hi? Can you confidently say they know your name? Do they look at you like the “flesh was going to melt off your face”?

A good boss should have their office door literally and metaphorically open, a resource for you to access and learn from. They should be transparent about their day to day and make you feel like you’re a respected part of their team.

#3 They have processes

Tell you what’s cool? Fun, dynamic work places that provide free meals and bean bags and lets you say swears really loudly in the office. But tell you what’s even cooler than that? Internal processes, HR protection and strong, supportive leadership. Sunglasses emoji, baby, we want our workplaces supported by legislation.

Without these things, a fun workplace can quickly turn into the novel-turned-movie The Beach by Alex Garland. As in, a fun, carefree paradise that’s great until someone dies and nobody knows how to deal with it.

Sometimes, having fun is better when it’s outside the workplace. Don’t get sucked in to the smoke and mirrors of a fun, charismatic environment before figuring out if it’s doing good things for you too.

#4 Your pay adds up

A key way of figuring out if your workplace is too legit to quit (literally) is to compare your wage with roles at similar companies. Are you getting ripped off or fairly compensated?

Websites like Glassdoor and CareerOne will be able to outline a fair idea of what you should be getting paid. Or, your industry might have an award wage that you can check on. This information can then empower you to either ask for a fair payrise, or move onto another role that properly compensates you for your hard work.

The more you know.

#5 You’re asked to contribute ideas

If your ideas are appreciated and listened to, it’s a good sign that your company appreciates your presence. And therefore, appreciates you!

According to Sarah Liu, there’s a growing trend of businesses actually creating formal settings where young employees can discuss what’s important to them and contribute ideas. She says, “The most forward-looking businesses are now creating boards with early-mid career constituents — the equivalent of an executive board but with emerging talent.”

Now, that’s a gosh darn good idea. Especially because millennials are the ones who have grown up with the smartphones, computers and internet speak that make the usual grey-haired board members scratch their heads.

Sure, young people have a lot to learn about the workplace. But they also have a hell of a lot to add. And don’t you forget it.


Josephine is a writer from western Sydney. You can find her words in Junkee, The Cusp, AWOL, The Guardian and on food she bagsed in the fridge.