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Is Job Hopping a Good Thing?

Job hopping refers to people that change jobs often, usually within two years. This was the kiss of employment death for the baby boomer workforce. Employees were valued for their stable work history with pay increases and promotions. Applicants that had a series of positions within a short timeframe were thought of negatively; maybe their quality or quantity of work didn’t meet standards, or maybe when their job got challenging, they weren’t up to the task and left.

Since the 1990s, job hopping has become more prevalent. With the rise of the gig economy and increased flexibility that comes with it, more and more people are choosing to move from one job to the next on a regular basis. But is this really a good thing? According to a survey from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of January 2020, the median years of tenure with current employers for those aged 25-34 was 2.8 years; aged 45-54 was 7.5 years, and for those aged 55-64 was 9.9 years. Of those employees aged 60-64, 54% had been employed for at least 10 years with their current employer versus 10% of those aged 30-34.

The Pros and Cons of Job Hopping

Millennials are now making an impact in the workplace; they grew up with the internet and technology and many prefer to manage their own careers rather than waiting to see if their company rewards loyalty. People who change jobs often are aggressively chasing their dream, if the fit isn’t perfect, why waste time; this shows commitment to their goals and their willingness to take risks to get there. Should you become a job hopper? As with most things, there are both pros and cons to job hopping.

One of the best things about job hopping is that it’s a fast way to increase your income and/or advance your career. Assuming each successive job is either a promotion or a lateral move with higher pay, changing companies is a positive–traditionally & with job hoppers. The difference is that job hoppers change jobs much more frequently than others. If you’re someone who likes to try new things and doesn’t like being tied down to one job or company, then the increased flexibility of job hopping may be a good option for you.

Job hopping also offers variety. If you’re someone who gets bored easily or likes to be constantly challenged, then moving from job to job can be a great way to keep things interesting.  It can also indicate that you have transferrable skills and assuming there are only short gaps or no gaps of unemployment between jobs, that those skills are in demand. Having several jobs within a relatively short period of time can also show that you’re adaptable and can work well in different work cultures/environments.

Now on to the negative aspects of job hopping. First, you may be ruled out of consideration for a position altogether due to a lack of employment stability. Many senior executives/hiring managers view job hopping negatively. You won’t have the chance to explain why you change jobs often.  Also, hiring managers may worry about the cost/time spent hiring someone who has a history of leaving after a short period of employment. This is a valid concern in today’s economy and, again, may rule you out of getting an interview.

In addition, job hoppers may have work histories that look inconsistent because of the numerous job titles on their resume. The variation (or order) of jobs can confuse hiring managers— “Why did you go from a manager to a specialist?” Staying in a job for less than two years may indicate an inability to focus, or handle stress and work challenges. There are positive aspects about staying in a job through multiple fiscal years; a maturity that comes with time. Also, job hopping can also make it difficult to build strong relationships with co-workers and superiors. If you’re constantly moving around, it can be tough to maintain long-term relationships with the people you work with.

Other Considerations

There are some practical items for job hoppers to consider. Changing jobs usually means having a gap in health insurance benefits, along with a possible loss of vesting time and retirement matching contributions. This gap in benefits will impact both the job hopper and their family, causing stress for everyone.  In addition, when the job market tightens up, employers can be more choosey and job hoppers may have a harder time finding employment.

While job hopping may be popular with younger employees, as time passes, maybe more consideration should be paid to staying in a role for more than two years. The process of maturing in a job/work environment is a valuable benefit.  Also, those insurance benefits and retirement contributions become more important as you age. Although job hopping is here to stay, it may be that until more millennials become hiring managers, it might be best to keep job hopping to your younger years.

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2 Replies to “Is Job Hopping a Good Thing?”

  1. Olga Lyons 2 years ago

    Well written and informative content!

  2. Diana Gentil 2 years ago

    Great article! For many employees ages 60+, they rather avoid job hopping, since it is such a drag to start anew in a position to begin new benefits and earned PTO time.

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