Is Job Hopping the New Normal?
Is job hopping really the scourge it’s purported to be?
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?
TechTarget.com 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).
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?
The psychology behind job-hopping
Why do so many workers move around so often? Below are a few of the most common reasons employees give to explain a history of job hopping, per the Harrison Barnes career blog:
- They don’t think the culture of the employer fits
- They’re bored or don’t feel challenged.
- They aren’t receiving enough feedback from management.
- They don’t get along with their coworkers.
- They don’t like their boss.
- They think they’re underpaid or undervalued.
- They don’t feel recognized or appreciated by the employer.
Job hopping isn’t always about the employee, however. In fact, job hopping might not actually be the disease it’s made out to be, but instead be a symptom of other factors, such as a declining economy or industry expectations. (The decision to terminate employment might also have been out of the employee’s hands, but that’s a different sort of red flag issue.) It’s really down to recruiters and hiring managers to figure out the true motivations behind a candidate’s history of job hopping.
Hiring a job hopper
As the trend has become more of a norm, employer attitudes toward job hopping have shifted slightly as well, but it’s still a red flag for many according to that 2014 CareerBuilder survey mentioned earlier:
- 43 percent of employers said they won’t consider a candidate who’s had short tenures with several employers.
- Of those who had taken a chance on hiring a job hopper, the results have been mixed:
- 34 percent said the employee left after a short period of time.
- Only 40 percent of job hoppers hired stayed at least two years, and only 17 percent stayed for at least three years.
Given that a significant portion of the job market could potentially be described as job hoppers, hiring one is a reality that many employers face, and it’s not all bad news. In fact, a job hopper might actually turn out to be a great hire.
TLNT recently put together a list of reasons job hoppers can be valuable employees:
- They’re likely to be top performers – after all, employers keep hiring them for a reason.
- They bring knowledge of your competitors.
- They’re able to adapt quickly to new environments – all the training they’ve gotten from other employers allows them to step into new roles with less training than other employees.
- They bring a unique perspective and innovative ideas.
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