Millennials should consider job hopping for a host of reasons. If I’m honest, I am a bit puzzled by the judgment that is directed towards young adults who change jobs regularly. The problem is that there’s no basis in fact for accusing young adults for job-hopping more than their predecessors. In fact, frequency of job change has more to do with current age than it does with generation you are a part of. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Baby Boomers job-hopped in their twenties just as frequently as millennials do now.
Don’t get me wrong. People who stay at a job less than a year time and again are unlikely to be reliable or useful. But people who spend a couple years at each job before moving on? Genius.
Thankfully the tides are turning on loyalty to a single employer for life. Millennials in particular are rarely going to stay with a single employer for the length of their career. A Gallup Millennial Study found that 21% of millennials reported a job change within the last year and six in ten millennials are open to new job opportunities. Job changes can be due to negative reasons, but I want to cover a handful of the most compelling reasons to find the next great job.
As of 2019, millennials are the largest generation in the workforce. Consequently, their collective mindset is driving attitudes at work. Previously, there was a stigma on job-hopping that suggested someone is not a good hire if they can’t stay committed to their company for the long-term. This stigma is losing steam though. According to a Robert Half survey, 57% of millennials who were asked, “Is job hopping losing its stigma?” responded yes.
Further, a 2015 Elance Odesk survey found that 52% of millennials believe employee loyalty is overrated, so the idea of staying with one company for an entire career is unpopular.
With millennials in the driver’s seat, candidates can feel confident that job-hopping is likely in their best interest over the course of their career. In fact, not only is it accepted by the newest generation of workers, but some employers may even prefer candidates who can bring knowledge of their competitor and the ability to learn quickly.
Make More Money
Most people have heard that it’s possible to significantly increase your income by taking a new job, but may still be skeptical if it’s true. In my experience, I job hopped not because I was seeking a higher income, but my salary did increase as a result of it. In fact, I would encourage most young adults in their twenties to change jobs at least once during their twenties.
The reason for this is because early in your career, your income is so low and the ability to earn more is a slippery slope. As you increase your income in your thirties and forties, the financial benefits of job hopping naturally decrease as you have already grown to the top levels of income for your skill set and industry. Further, staying at the same employer for over two years on average can cost you 50% or more in lifetime earnings.
How much more money are we talking about here? According to Legal Technology Solutions (LTS) figures, in a healthy economic market, a 8-10% increase is about average for a job change. Other reports show as much as a 20% increase possibility. I have even heard reports of up to 30% increase in salary.
When you step back and consider not just the immediate impact 20-30% more income could have on your life, but also look at that extra amount growing over time via raises, investments, etc., you must honestly consider whether it may be worth it.
This is how this story usually goes. John is working hard at his job and hoping to get promoted or progress to a higher-level job somewhere in the company. A couple years go by where there is no sign of progress. John starts to look elsewhere for next level opportunities and finds one.
A LinkedIn survey on people who have changed jobs showed that 59% of respondents chose their new company because they saw a stronger career path or more opportunity there.
One of the biggest difficulties, particularly among small businesses and larger companies that are not growing, is that they struggle to offer a career path that allows for timely growth. Most enthusiastic employees will be looking for their next opportunity every two to three years.
If the company they are currently working for can’t offer even a vague idea of what their career path could look like, they will be tempted to jump ship.
Today’s young adults are more mobile than ever before. Urban Institute reports that millennial rate of home ownership is about 8% lower than Gen X and Boomers at the same age. Less 20 and 30 somethings are laying down roots in a given city, which makes relocation for work an attractive draw to job hop. In fact, 77% of Cornerstone survey respondents considered relocating to another city, state, or country as a desirable career move.
In recent years, I covered a story on Forbes about Zapier, a workflow automation tool company, in which I shared about their “delocation” program. They recognized that some of the top tech talent is in Silicon Valley, but their company is 100% remote, with no physical footprint anywhere, let alone in the tech hotbed.
Their program allows candidates hired from Silicon Valley to relocate to the city of their choosing and the company pays for up to $10,000 in relocation costs. They pay competitive salaries, regardless of location, so this setup is a dream come true for young adults in tech who have no desire to live in Silicon Valley.
This program is likely not realistic for most companies, but job hoppers should be aware that these types of options exist. Further, companies should be combating this type of competition by ramping up what is available to their employees.
Relocation might not be a possibility for a majority of jobs at a company, but have you ever considered if it could be? Could a job be done remotely? Could it be transferred to another office? Again, relocation, particularly to another country, is a whole fiasco. If relocation is not something you can offer an employee that’s keen to move, could you ramp up their travel opportunities to give them exposure outside their home city? Are there special projects you could ask them to take on that would involve traveling? Sometimes just breaking up the ordinary is enough to satisfy this craving to move somewhere else.
Nobody wants to feel like an outsider at work, yet every people show up to jobs that make them feel like they don’t belong. Work culture is such a crucial part of where someone chooses to work, but is equally as difficult to discern prior to being hired.
Whether you like it or not, work culture is a reality and each workplace has a slightly different atmosphere. One workplace can be positive and encouraging, while equally driven and accountable for mistakes. The next workplace could have a micromanaging culture, but has great perks. Another workplace could give employees large amounts of flexibility and autonomy, while also failing at giving frequent feedback.
Employees can only remain in an environment that’s not right for them for so long, so some turn to job hunting in search of the right culture. A 2015 survey by LinkedIn stated that 36% of respondents changed jobs because they were unsatisfied with the work environment or culture.
If you are a manager or employer, you can help set the tone for the culture to retain your employees. Be mindful if you are creating team building activities that aren’t inclusive. For example, if your staff is largely female and your team outings are to a nail salon, you may be missing out on making your male staff a tight knit team member. Same goes for groups that are largely male and arrange for golf outings. Women may participate, but they may not. Be mindful that some activities are better suited for all types of people.
Another example is frequently meeting over happy hour or dinner. Most working parents simply cannot participate most of the time. Could you make arrange a lunch outing instead of a happy hour outing? There’s no perfect science here, but you are bound to lose employees if they feel like outsiders.
Don’t let your guilt or fear hold you back from going after what is right for you. As of the writing of this book, the job market is ripe for job seekers. There’s more opportunity and room for negotiation than there has been in years. The recession is most definitely far off in the rear-view mirror. If you are reading this and you are unhappy in your job, you should most definitely take this as your sign to go pursue other opportunities.
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