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Working Across Different Industries

“How is it like moving across industries?” This is the second question people ask me when asked about my background in networking events recently. It is also the reason why I decided to share my experience and thoughts. Well, not only have I moved across industries but regardless of the titles the job was mostly doing internal consulting roles which needs the most knowledge about the industry a person is working in.

Working on internal consulting projects and contracts, moving from company to another was not an option at the start of my career. Having said that I have to admit that relating personally to industries while moving is so important and is a key to be successful in the job. I love cars and enjoy driving so worked in automotive, at the same time crazy about IT starting from ERP systems passing through the cloud and now big data so working in IT was great experience. Hospitality and aeronautical is linked to travelling which is the adventurous person in me. Supporting people is a pleasure so working on a regeneration project for a non-for-profit was a privilege.


1. Changing industries is something that adds a lot to the person both personally and professionally. It can help the person learn more about himself and explore the world. When looking back below are five of the main advantages of moving across industries:

2. Flexibility: Working across industries shows flexibility where the level of shift in industry cultures reflect the degree of flexibility of the person. An IT industry where the pace of technology is very quick and so is the decision making is not the same as working in automotive where the pace is not as fast.

3. Adaptability: Adaptability is linked to flexibility and is expressed by the time needed and the ability to completely integrate with the company and in this case the whole industry culture. For example manufacturing and automotive are tough industries given the fact that they are very demanding and can lead to a life loss whether for drivers (customers) or machine operators (employees in shop floor). On the other hand working in hospitality I can definitely say that the calmness and spirit you see in the reception is reflected in the back office. Even meetings within automotive and hospitality are structured differently and the same applies for communication.
4. Adding value: This is one of the most important advantages when I look back. What was clear to me was what I brought to the table moving from an industry to the other given my passion. This is true, you can be part of changing the industry while moving. Things are done differently in different industries and so is the technology levels and pace.
Interest: This is a personal advantage, moving across industries made me learn a lot about myself. Aside knowing more about the industries and learning about them I also knew personal traits as how easily as a person I adapt with change.
5. Ability to learn quickly: Moving across industries mad me discover that learning is something very exciting. When moving across industries you are not only learning the company’s jargons, system and discovering the culture but also you are learning all of those in a totally new industry. KPIs as in number of DOAs (Dead on Arrival units) in IT is not used in hospitality where occupancy and RevPar (revenue per available room) is used. People struggle with company business models within industries, a quick learner is not an option while moving across industries and understanding the industry’s big strategy.


Everything has advantages and disadvantages, it is all about weighing the costs and benefits when taking the decision.

1. Getting out of your comfort zone: knowing an industry like the back of your hand then deciding to move to another where it is totally new is very challenging. It is even more challenging if you created your own personal brand in the old industry as moving means starting over. On the other hand it is getting out of your comfort zone that gives you the experience and creates your professional identity.
2. Time: Moving to another industry a person needs to be prepared before joining. Time is not on your side when moving as you are handing over your old position but want to start with a solid ground.


1. Apply only to industries you have passion for.
2. Make sure you fit within both the company and industry’s culture.
3. A job you enjoy is not an option, your heart must be set on it.

Moving across industries provided me a lot of experience and knowledge, where the disadvantages mentioned did build the person I am today. It is an opportunity that I am glad to have taken the decision to accept.

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Posted on December 31, 2014       


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Arnika Enderle, January 21, 2015    

Great statement Fatema! Diverse industry experiences brings along different approaches to tackle business issues on a day to day basis. I do share a similar experience. Leaving the comfort zone leaves you pro-active and with an entrepreneurial vision.

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Fatema El-Wakeel, January 26, 2015    

Thank you for your comment Arnika! You are so correct regarding the entrepreneurial vision, it is a great point you are raising. Moving across helps with looking at your career pro-actively, this results in working in the whole business from an entrepreneurial prospective. Well said!

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Matteo Inverardi, December 31, 2015    

Really interesting topic, especially about the flexibility. In my opinion that will be one of the key skills to be successful in the job in the next decades. Do you agree?