Job Hopping: Is it a Good Idea?

Climbing the hierarchy used to be a reward for loyalty. But the days when people worked for decades for the same company are quickly becoming a relic of the past. While you might find a few examples of 20 or 30-year commitments to a company, job hopping, where professionals have started moving from company to company, has slowly replaced this philosophy.

If you think you may want to stay with a company for the rest of your career, you can’t always trust that will be the case. Despite the current economic stability here in Ireland, you can’t exactly know whether a company is going to remain on the same business trajectory, or, even remain in the country.

A recent Lincoln survey found that professionals are now staying with an organisation for only 3-4 years, on average, before moving on. On a personal level, you may simply prefer a different challenge, and job-hopping has certainly become popular in the 21st century, though is it really a good idea? And is it true that switching employers offers a fast track to the top?

What is Job Hopping?

The exact definition of a job hopper is one who moves from one company to the other every year or two. While this might sound impossible to do well, it’s being done, frequently by Millennials still relatively new to the workforce.

At first sight, this might look like a risky move since not all companies want to see an employee jumping from job to job. This might bring impressions you’re always looking to advance or change direction rather than sticking with a job for at least three to five years.

Things are starting to change, though, as companies look to those with demonstrable skills over how many years they’ve worked in one place.

Job Hopping for the Right Reasons

”Job hopping can become beneficial to gain diverse skills in a particular profession”.

Job hopping can become beneficial to gain diverse skills in a particular profession. For instance, those in IT now move around and learn new technologies in different work environments to acquire diverse knowledge.

You may see more job hopping in technology fields as a result since it constantly requires new skills to stay successful. Staying in one place only stagnates technology advancement, which can become a major disadvantage in such a competitive industry.

Yet, before doing this, you’ll need to have complete confidence in your technology skills to assure you add value to each new position.

Millennials Looking at Companies Differently

Today many Millennials have the outlook that companies probably won’t take care of them like their parents or grandparents holding long workplace tenures. With this new frame of mind, it’s giving a younger generation opportunity to earn more as they move from job to job.

In fact, Forbes notes when you switch to better jobs, you can get as much as a 10% increase in pay. Comparing this to just a 3% annual raise if staying in the same job, it’s given a boost to job hopping.

Regardless, it doesn’t mean job hopping won’t have some challenges ahead with different generations still working together.

Other Pros and Cons

There are additional pros involved in job hopping, some of which include access to more information and resources. Also consider the networking possibilities by working for numerous companies. Many employers would find this worthwhile if you have access to people in a particular industry other employees don’t have.

However, you do have equal cons with job hopping. For instance, employers may have some hesitation in wanting to hire you from the start. Some others may question your judgement, especially if they rely on you for decisions. Your boss may also fear you’ll leave their company at a moment’s notice if something occurs you don’t like.

Some Other Hurdles You’ll Have to Overcome

One of the most interesting aspects to job hopping is the divide between generations on whether it’s a good idea. Statistics show 41% of Baby Boomers in the workplace think you should work at least five years in one place before moving on to something else. In contrast, only 13% of Millennials think this.

Some other challenges you might face include not being able to nurture loyalty in the companies where you work. The same goes with likely being the first to go when layoffs occur.

To summarise, job-hopping can be either the positive or negative catalyst in your career. It can be a double-edged sword, too much can be viewed negatively as can too little. A reliable recruitment agency or experienced recruitment consultant may give you more choices and answers to the questions of how to use this catalyst to accelerate your career in the direction you wish for.

Donal Whelan avatar
Managing Director
+353 1 661 0444