Is Job Hopping Still Taboo?

Nabila Ikram
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As more millennials and members of gen z make headway into the workforce, job-hopping is becoming increasingly common and accepted. There are several reasons as to why today’s young workers have a tendency to job hop, including economic downturns that hit right when they came out of college, to a change in priorities and expectations. Whereas for the older generations, stability was a top priority, nowadays, satisfaction and growth are higher up the ladder. According to reports, 75% of survey respondents said that they do not plan on staying with an employer for over 5 years. Reasons for why they would leave their jobs included pay, work-life balance, workplace culture, learning and development opportunities, and advancement opportunities.

Employers are also coming on board with job hopping because they realize that job-hoppers usually develop a collection of valuable skills. With being exposed to different companies and positions, they tend to be versatile. While more employers are becoming more accepting of job hopping, it doesn’t erase the fact that significant amounts of time, money, and resources are spent on hiring and onboarding every time that a worker leaves and a new employee has to be hired: approximately 20% of a salary of $30,000-$50,000. Therefore, employers have to face the reality that job hopping is becoming more common, but also understand what makes it common, and how they can try to retain their employees for longer periods of time.

As mentioned, today’s employees place high value on professional and financial growth. Therefore, companies should focus on providing opportunities for professional development and advancement with higher positions and higher wages/salaries within the company. Job satisfaction is also high on the list, with millennials preferring a sense of community in the workplace. Therefore, a focus on developing the company’s “culture” is also important.  

For the job seeker, despite job hopping becoming the norm, it does come with a couple of caveats:

1. Try to avoid hopping within 6 months to a year. You may still come off as disloyal or unreliable, especially if employers consider the costs that can go into replacing staff every few months.

2. The acceptance of job-hopping decreases once a person reaches their 30s. While younger employees are given some leeway to explore and experiment, older employees are expected to be more “settled” by their mid to late 30s.

One tactic to emphasize your value as a job hopper, without highlighting the “hopping” part, is to create your resume in a functional format, rather than chronological. This means zero in on your skills with a brief mention of your work timeline, rather than primarily framing your experience in chronological order, as has traditionally been done.   

All-in-all, as cultural and societal values and priorities are changing, job hopping is becoming more common and less taboo. It serves as an opportunity for workers to gain experience in multiple settings and develop multiple skillsets. However, as is common sense, job hopping too frequently or within extremely short periods of time, such as less than one year, can be frowned upon, not only because of the lack of time the worker may have had to develop appropriate skills, but also because of the costs placed on employers to manage turnover. Therefore, a worker should aim to stay with a company for at least one year. On the other hand, employers should also make sure to develop retention plans that incorporate the values of today’s generations, such as higher pay, more professional and personal opportunities, positive workplace environment, and work-life balance.



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