To be or not to be a job hopper, that is the question. It has been said that new generations in the workplace tend to last fewer and fewer years on a single job. But are their youth and dissatisfactions the reason why, or are there some legitimate concerns about the changing workforce behind this?
Read this short article to find out what experts think about it.
Whenever people talk about generations in the workplace, one of the most controversial topics seems to be a hot button for debate. In an article for FlexJobs, Rachel Pelta writes that this doesn’t have to be an automatic red flag but presents it as one of the many justified generational changes in the workplace.
So, what is job hopping, and why don’t some people like it? Job hoppers are those who only stay one or two years in a job before looking for greener pastures. Some older schools of thought paint these people as flighty, dissatisfied, and unstable—meaning that they are a risky hire for a company, even if they have all the right skills and experience for a job.
Job hopping is pretty common in today’s world, especially as workers’ wages aren’t rising at the same rate as inflation, or the company has stagnated its vision for the worker, leading them to look for a challenge or engagement elsewhere.
Still, perceptions can be challenged, as according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, even baby boomers were also job hopping when they were starting their careers, as they “held an average of 12.7 jobs from ages 18 to 56. Nearly half of these jobs were held from ages 18 to 24.”
“Job-hopping with intention is just that: intentional. It takes planning, self-evaluation, and careful choices to work out.”
Pelta ultimately argues that job hopping has to be intentional and strategic for it to work in favor of the worker instead of against.
Forbes predicts that job hopping is not stopping anytime soon, as written by Caroline Castrillon. She pins it down to five reasons why people will continue to job hop: salary consciousness, changing perceptions, disloyal companies, changing priorities, and career advancement.
“Until employees get their needs met, job hopping will continue for the foreseeable future.”
The instability of the post-pandemic world has only bred anxious workers who know that companies will most likely not do what it takes to retain them. With inflation rising, wages must be kept competitive to prevent an employee from jumping ship.
As the article points out, this is not just workers being less loyal out of spite. Companies commonly lay off workers, creating uncertainty and thus leading to job hopping.
Pros and cons of job hopping
Now, if you’re a worker, how often should you job hop and are there any real advantages to it for you?
According to Indeed’s Editorial Team, a higher salary, career advancement, location change, adaptability, and better work environment are some of the top reasons why people job-hop. The benefits that they can gain by jumping from one job to the other can be something that just is far away from their current company or downright impossible.
The truth is that there is no one-size-fits-all guide on how often you should change jobs. Some people job-hop because of a more competitive salary, a better title, or an uncommon opportunity; while others do it because of dissatisfaction, health challenges, or a bad culture match. That is without considering all the unexpected ways you may need to change jobs suddenly, like layoffs.
“Although job hopping is more acceptable than it once was, it’s vital to demonstrate desirable characteristics like dependability and a work ethic.”
Job hopping has disadvantages, though, that go further than proving that a worker is loyal. Some things to keep in mind if job hopping is a strategy that, as a worker, you’re trying to play into for advancement:
In an article for CNBC, Goh Chiew Tong chronicles how the pandemic and the Great Resignation were big factors in Gen Z’s apparent restlessness.
“While job-hopping is “more acceptable than ever” now, a job switch under a year of tenure is still “too quick,” said Amy Zimmerman, the chief people officer of Relay Payments.”
According to research by CareerBuilder, Gen Z workers spend an average of two years and three months on a job, while millennials average two years and nine months. This is a stark contrast to Gen X’s five years and Boomers’s eight years.
To find out what hiring authorities think about it, the author interviewed Amy Zimmerman, the chief people officer of Relay Payments. She mentioned that 18 months is an acceptable minimum to be in a job, but the sweet spot is two to three years.
Job hopping is losing its taboo status as new generations are being forced to deal with an uncertain labor market, rising inflation, and stagnating challenges. These all have helped people job hop more freely, but they shouldn’t take it as an absolute way to get changing jobs at any sign of trouble. Instead, they should learn how to do it strategically to avoid hurting their chances.
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