Around ten years ago, when somebody kept switching between careers after short stints, they would be considered disloyal, unstable and lacking purpose and vision for career growth. In this sense, older generations valued lifetime corporate jobs. Due to this traditional view, job hopping has for long been seen as a negative behavior and those who switch jobs regularly weren’t considered for leadership positions. However, as job trends keep shifting, job hoping is becoming a norm, especially among millennials.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, on average, workers in the United States stay with one employer for about 4.6 years. However, the tenure for millennials is much shorter, spanning only half that figure at 2.3 years. In other words, for the younger generations, hopping between jobs every two years no longer seems as peculiar. Instead, changing jobs is increasingly seems as a way of getting rapid upward mobility in one’s career. Still, the main questions that bother our minds: is job hopping a bad thing or it can lead to a career advancement?
What Do Statistics Say About Millennials In The Workplace?
Currently, the millennial generation represents a growing share of the US workforce, inching past other generations to form the largest share of the labor market. In fact, millennials form approximately 45% of the US workforce. Attention needs to be given to careers in statistics from such studies as the one conducted by Gallup, which found that 66% of millennials are open to being contacted for new job opportunities. Of those consulted during the survey, 21% of millennials indicated that they had shifted between jobs in the past year, which is quite high compared to only 7% of Generation Xers.
David Parnell, a renowned author and human resource consultant, noted:
When the bulk of the workforce constituency was the Baby Boomers–stoic, long-term-oriented and collectivistic in nature–job hopping was highly frowned upon. It was the norm to stay with an employer for 30 years, grab your pension and ride off quietly into the sunset. With the entrance of the dot.com bubble and Gen X (and eventually Gen Y) came a much more instant gratification, self-oriented nature to the workforce. Where a single move within a five year span may have labeled someone as a pariah, in some industries nowadays, a move per year isn’t unheard of.
Given this growing trend of job switching, there is a need for a better understanding of the benefits and drawbacks involved.
Changing Jobs Frequently As A Way To Success
Here are some of the main benefits you are likely to get by changing jobs:
Experience From Diverse Backgrounds
Those who change jobs every three years can possibly cite the experience gained from working at different companies, industries, and managerial styles. As Tracy Cashman, a partner and general manager in the IT Search division at WinterWyman, mentioned:
Someone who has a diverse background is often more attractive to a potential employer because they potentially bring new ideas and ways of doing things. Just make sure to keep some kind of record of what projects you accomplished where, and make sure one to two people at each company will serve as a reference.
Every position or job you get is a chance to amass more experience under your belt. Stories abound of people who changed their lives for the better by changing jobs. You get to learn something fresh from each job you occupy.
Opportunity For Professional Development
Not everyone lands a dream job at the first attempt. In fact, 71% of millennial professionals are unsatisfied with their current jobs and how their professional and leadership skills are developed and are likely to quit within the next two years. By changing jobs regularly, you get the chance to make certain of your desires, professional value and goals. By testing the waters, you get to know what fits you, get to learn new things and widen your skillset.
You Can Get A Salary Increase When Changing Jobs
One of the main reasons for job switching is to get an improved salary offer. Due to CEO survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, only 18% of young employees intend to stay with their employer for the long-term, with the main reason for changing careers at 30 being an increase in remuneration. When the candidate has the right skillsets and experience desired by a company and have a chance to move to a better paying job, they will move.
A Chance To Develop A Broader Network
A prime motivation for job change among young adults is the need to broaden one’s professional network, something that is critical in the present job market. By job switching, young employees get to interact with new customers, coworkers, and managers. These networks can prove critical later in your career.
Drawbacks Of Millennial Job Hopping
While the benefits of changing jobs frequently can be fulfilling, there are notable cons you should consider:
Employers Tend To Be Wary of Employees Prone To Changing Jobs Too Often
Most employers value longevity and tend to be cautious when considering candidates who do not stay in one job for long. Such employers will refer to your past attitudes in predicting your chances of being with the organization for long. Hiring a job hopper could be costly to the organization, particularly given the significant training and on boarding costs. This could potentially harm your future growth prospects with major employers.
Building Meaningful Relationships Is Difficult
Forming strong networks requires career stability. While you have a chance to build broader networks, there is insufficient time between jobs to work on the relationships involved. Building strong business connections that you could rely on takes time.
To sum up, the millennial generation’s ambition and desire for personal growth is something that has introduced increased job hopping in the workforce. While there are some drawbacks in the tendency to frequently switching jobs, the advantages are quite attractive. The main takeaway here, therefore, is that, as long as your job hoping is for the right reasons, the benefits should override any drawbacks.
Author Bio: Alice Berg is a blogger and a career advisor at Skillroads, who received a degree in Social Work and Applied Social Studies. Now she helps people to find their own way in life, gives career advice and guidance, helps young people to prepare for their careers. You can find Alice on Twitter.
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