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Is Job Hopping The New Normal?

Is job hopping really the scourge it’s purported to be?

Job Hopping

In the HR world, the term has long had a negative connotation, and most recently has been used to express the idea that young(er) workers are inherently more flighty than previous generations and unable to commit to an employer long-term. But is that really the case?

What is job hopping? defines a job hopper as “someone who works briefly in one position after another rather than staying at any one job or organization long-term.”

Job hopping by the numbers

Much of the talk about job hopping has centered on Millennials. Here’s what some experts are saying:

  • A 2016 Gallup report, “How Millennials Want to Work and Live,” offers some interesting insight into Millennial job-hopping trends:
    • 21 percent of Millennials say they’ve changed jobs within the past year. (That number is three times higher than the number of non-Millennials.)
    • Millennial job-hopping costs the U.S. economy an estimated $30.5 billion annually in turnover costs.
    • 36 percent of Millennials say they will look for a new job within the next 12 months if the market improves, while only 21 percent of non-Millennials say the same.
  • But a new report from accounting and consulting firm Deloitte Touch Tohmatsu LLC indicates that job hopping might be on the decline among Millennials:
    • Only 38 percent of Millennials polled late last year said they would leave their job within 2 years if given the opportunity, down about 6% from the year before.
    • About one-fourth of respondents (27 percent) said that they plan to be at their current job for more than five years (an increase of about 4 percent from last year).
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So, while Millennials are still moving around, they’re doing so slightly less frequently. In truth, however, job hopping isn’t a phenomenon exclusive to younger workers: a 2014 CareerBuilder survey found that 25 percent of workers over the age of 35 halve held five or more jobs, and that 20 percent of workers ages 55 and older have held 10 or more jobs.

So what are the reasons why an employee might become a job hopper?

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