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The impact job-hopping has on careers

Over time, the nature of the job market has changed dramatically, and where employees used to stay in the same job for a long time with the goal of progressing within a single company, nowadays we have a much more fluid approach to job security.

US recruitment firm, Ajilon, carried out some research into the most prevalent attitudes in the American working environment regarding job-hopping. From those who see it as an obstacle to others who consider it an opportunity for improvement, here are some of the standout facts and figures:

Who job-hops?
Typically, it’s the younger members of the US workforce who look to change jobs after a short tenure. Just 13 percent of Millennials believe that workers should stay in their job for at least five years before looking for a new role, whereas 41 percent of Baby boomers feel the same.

Indeed, over a quarter of Millennials (26 percent) think that you don’t even need to be in a job for a year before considering other options, and 20 percent plan to leave their current job after 1–2 years. So what does this say about company loyalty in the modern working environment? Is it a dying priority for workers born after 1980, with one’s own career path gradually becoming the biggest consideration? Work-life balance as a concept has been growing in popularity since Gen X entered the workplace. Younger people starting out their careers value flexibility, and may well be seeking jobs that satisfy their needs now, rather than waiting for the right opportunity to show itself in their current company.

What effect does job-hopping have?
While always keeping your eyes peeled for a new opportunity can help you move up the career ladder quickly, it is still considered by many to be a risky strategy. Well over half of people (62 percent) consider job-hopping to be damaging to long-term career goals. Perhaps a big concern about frequently changing jobs is that one could be seen as unreliable, or chasing pay rises over job satisfaction. It’s an issue that many recruiters are aware of, with 39 percent considering job-hopping to be the biggest obstacle that job-seekers can encounter when trying to find work. If an employer reviewing an applicant’s CV sees a packed ‘career history’ over a very short space of time, it might make them think twice about the applicant’s staying power and whether they will be a worthy investment for the company. At worst, jumping from one company to another – particularly within the same industry – can be interpreted by employers as a slight to their business, and you risk burning bridges unnecessarily.

Why do people do it?
Although 83 percent of Millennials are aware of the risks associated with job-hopping, 86 percent say this will not deter them from seeking the perfect opportunity. But why? Money is a big factor in this. The average salary increase in 2015 was 3 percent, whereas for people who changed jobs, this jumped up to between 10 percent and 20 percent. Companies are willing to pay more for the right candidate, and if employees feel that they will be paid what they are worth elsewhere, then there is a great incentive to move.

Gaining a wealth of skills and experience is also a great benefit of job-hopping, and it will teach you how to be adaptable and learn new systems and processes quickly.

Job-hopping can definitely let you speed up career progression, too. Waiting for your current job to transform into the perfect one can require a lot of talks with HR, push-back from your boss, and discussions about “how will this work?” – but if you see the exact job you’re after in another company, why wait? Ultimately, the decision to hop is entirely dependent on the circumstances. It’s up to you to weigh up whether or not making the change will bring you more job satisfaction (or whatever else motivates you), and be worth it in the long-run.

Frank conversations with family and friends can help lead you to your decision, but think logically and thoroughly about what you really want from your career, and whether this is the path that will get you there.

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