Given the plethora of job opportunities in the market right now, it’s natural to consider making a career change.
However, you may be thinking: “I don’t want to be a job hopper.”
We get it.
For years, we’ve all been warned about having short stints on a resume. The pressure to stay with a single organization for more than a few years is strong.
But this current environment could afford you the opportunity to advance your career in the direction you want. You don’t want to miss that.
So let’s walk through the pros and cons of job hopping to see if it’s worth it.
Be clear about why you’re making a change.
If you’re wondering whether someone will look askance at a short-term position on your resume, the answer is complicated.
According to recent survey data from Robert Half, a majority of workers — 64 percent, to be exact — favor job-hopping. That number is 22% higher than a similar survey just four years ago.
What’s more, the average number of jobs held by workers over a two-year period is 1.3, while over five years is 2.3. Given that we’re in a post-COVID world, it’s not unreasonable to assume that these numbers have increased in recent months.
It is true, however, that the average tenure does increase depending on your sector, according to an Economic News Release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- Workers in management, professional, and related occupations had the highest median tenure (4.9 years)
- Workers in service occupations had the lowest median tenure (1.9 years)
So if you have a tenure that’s less than five years, odds are the question will come up during the interview.
The key here is to have a solid reason why you’re making a change.
Employers value loyalty, certainly. And that’s why having a longer tenure can be valuable. However, good employers also want people who are growing in their careers, not stagnating.
Thus, making a change because you’re ready for a new opportunity will come across as a positive development, rather than a negative one.
Younger employees tend to job hop more.
The gap in employment currently is generational in nature. The median tenure for workers ages 25 to 34 is 2.8 years, while for employees ages 55 to 64 it’s 9.9 years.
Additionally, of all the workers who switched jobs last year, only 33% identified as Gen Z, and 25% as Millennial, according to a new study from IBM’s Institute for Business Value.
However, it’s important to note that job hopping isn’t a function of generation so much as it is of age. Take Baby Boomers born between 1957 and 1964. According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report, they have held 12.3 jobs on average, but nearly half of them have been when they were between ages 18 and 24.
On top of that, data from Steven J. Davis from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and John Haltiwanger of the University of Maryland indicate that job hopping has been on a decline since 2000. This may seem to indicate that, compared to other generations at the same age, Millennials and Gen Zers are job hopping less than their counterparts.
The fact that employees tend to job hop in their younger years shouldn’t be a surprise. There are a number of reasons to do so:
- Building up different skills that will serve your career long-term
- Trying different positions to find the best fit
- Gaining experience working at different kinds of companies among different kinds of teams
However, once you start to build up experience, you’re more likely to take on positions that require more strategic planning and thinking. This naturally requires a longer tenure.
Plus, if you’ve spent all that time figuring out what you really want to do, once you find it you probably won’t want to leave!
All this to say: if you’re a younger employee, you’re probably safe making a change. And if you’re an older employee, odds are you have some respectable tenure in your work history, which makes job hopping less risky now.
Job hopping may result in greater compensation.
Staying in a job long-term may be good for stability. But in terms of long-term financial earnings, job hopping is a better bet.
A 2019 study from ADP found that when you stay at your current job, you’re likely to receive a 4% pay increase. However, switching jobs leads to a 5.3% salary increase.
In fact, staying in a job too long may be a detriment to your long-term compensation. According to research from Forbes.com, employees who remain in companies too long (in the article, he says that it’s longer than two years) get paid 50% less than their counterparts who leave and start somewhere else.
And for every year after the two-year mark, that number continues to go up.
But we should be careful not to over-glamorize job hopping. No matter your reasons, starting over with a new job means…well…starting over. That could mean that you lose your banked vacation time, potential retirement income, or insurance coverage, requiring you to switch doctors.
As a result, although there’s plenty of upside, be smart about how you make these decisions so you don’t end up making your situation much worse
Final thoughts: Be sure to gather advice.
A decision as big as a career change should never be made alone. So if you’re looking for a new job in 2021 or 2022, you need someone in your corner to help you make a smart decision.
When you work with Brightwing, our team provides unique insights into the market to help you find the best possible candidate, ace your interview, and set yourself up for success in your new role.
To set up an introductory call with our team, fill out the form below!
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