Job Longevity in the Equine Industry
by Kelly Wallace Horne
The most fruitful horsey careers are built on consideration and planning. Unless you understand some of the key things recruiting employers take seriously, you cannot structure your equine career development to your maximum benefit in terms of getting the best job choices, salary and associated benefits.
Taking your first equine job and seeing where life takes you can be quite a ride, but if you stick to this as a strategy, it is unlikely to get the most the equine industry has to offer and it can lead you into some terrible situations too that can stop many a promising career in its tracks. Again social media is full of grooms with stories to tell on that front!
In this article, we ask what job longevity means and how it might positively, and negatively, impact your equine career development.
What does Job Longevity mean and why does it matter?
What Job Longevity means
Longevity (pronouced “long-jev-itty”): noun ~ long existence or service
Job longevity refers to the length of time you remain in one job. This is important to future employers because it can give a real indication of your commitment to them, their yard and their horses. No one can see into the future and know what is going happen, so the past is the only indication of what can be expected but, make no mistake, it is one of the key areas that employers and recruitment agencies will consider when looking at you as an applicant. We certainly take candidates with this quality VERY SERIOUSLY!
When job longevity matters
When an employer is looking for potential candidates to join their team or take sole charge of their yard, one of the first things they will look at is your employment history.
- If you have 5-years employment history and you have worked at two different yards for 2-3 years each. This demonstrates job longevity and is a good indication to your future employers that they can expect you to remain with them for a similar time period at least.
- If you have 5-years employment history and you have worked at 8 different yards for less than 12 months at a time, this is often referred to as job hopping and prospective employers would have very good reason to expect you will not be sticking around with them for long.
This can also be applied to jobs outside of the equine industry. As we’ve advised in our article 5 Top Tips to Get Your Equine Job Application Accepted, your non-equine employment history IS relevant when you apply for an equine job, and should always be included in your equine CV. One example is when you are looking for your first job in the equine industry some years into adulthood. A potential employer will not have any gauge of your stability within the equine industry, and your non-equine employment history will be even more relevant to prospective equine employers. After all, keeping your own horse for pleasure is very different to working on a yard all day caring for other people’s horses.
When job longevity doesn’t matter
Apart from when you first start out, there really isn’t a time when job longevity doesn’t matter but there are some exceptions:
- You may be looking for your first fully gainful employment since leaving equine college. (Your work placements might have been for set time periods whilst you complete hours of hands-on experience and you are not yet ready to demonstrate stability within your job roles).
- Some equine jobs are seasonal and job longevity is not always available in that specific discipline eg: Polo, Hunting.
- You may choose to be a short-term groom offering emergency cover, holiday cover, seasonal cover, competition grooming etc.
- You may be freelance and moving yard to yard is one way you run your business to maximum effect, although most freelancers will have some long-term “regulars”.
Demonstrating job longevity can be difficult when you transition from a seasonal/short-term/freelance groom into a permanent role, but prospective employers know this is not the same as job hopping, and there are lots of freelance grooms that move back into permanent employment for good periods of time.
Intelligent career planning: when too much of something good can be a bad thing!
Two key elements to be mindful of when planning and building your equine career are:
Experience vs Commitment
It may seem like a good idea to cram gaining as much experience into as short a time as possible but you risk harming your ability to demonstrate job longevity to future prospective employers if you don’t sandwich this between some long-term positions. This is a common mistake aspiring professional grooms make. There are no shortcuts to having valuable experience with an extensive employment history, and unless you are 20+ years into your equine career (we mean purely gainful employment, not your years at the Pony Club), there is only a certain amount of valuable experience you can offer a prospective employer, and employers know this. Dipping your toe in the water of multiple industry sectors for a few months at a time is not guaranteed to convince potential employers you are an experienced groom. However, it is likely to convince them you are not committed.
Commitment vs Experience
Knowing what you want to do with your life can be difficult, and it may be that you want to try a number of disciplines/industry sectors before settling on one. You may also find that your choices are limited in your early career pathway. Even so, it pays to be mindful of how your employment history is panning out and how it might look on your CV.
If you take a job on a yard that you love and end up staying there for 12 years you are very lucky, and this is a very good thing. You may not have experience of the different ways various yards like things done, but this is probably unlikely to concern a future employer. They will only be concerned about the way their yard is run, and if you can demonstrate good job longevity a future employer can feel reassured that training you for their job is a worthy, long-term investment.
Being mindful of how the present may look to others in the future will put you in good stead for future career development:
- Lots of short spells working in a wide variety of disciplines/industries is no shortcut to gaining valuable experience and employment history
- A very long time in one job does not necessarily make you less desirable than someone with a more varied employment history
When you consider leaving a permanent job and looking for something else, ask yourself some very important questions as to why you really want to move on, the pros and cons of moving on now rather than a few months or more later, and what explanations you can give to potential future employers for leaving each job on your CV. The conclusions you draw and the decisions you make could be the difference between winning and having the pick of the equine jobs/best salaries and associated benefits available to you, or losing out altogether.
Caroline Carter Recruitment has an unrivalled reputation for giving straightforward, honest and useful career guidance, if you would like friendly, impartial, professional advice on CV planning or your next career move please do contact us. We are always happy to assist you. If you are ready to make your next move, please register and add your Jobseekers Profile (including your CV) and search our equine jobs. If we don’t have anything suitable please get in touch and we will see what we can do to help you find your perfect equine job.