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Job Hopping in Today’s Labour Market

Dive In
  • Writer's pictureThe CareerBeacon Team

Updated: Mar 25

The last few years have taught us that happiness and fulfillment are more important than ever in work and life. And more recently, we have seen an increase in job-hopping as jobseekers explore new opportunities and look for potential cultural fits. In 2021, 47 million people voluntarily left their jobs, according to Pew Research. This is now known as the Great Resignation, where workers who no longer felt aligned with their jobs sought a chance to begin again.

But the question becomes: Is job-hopping bad? If it isn’t, then what can one learn from the experience?

We must release the stigma related to job hopping

There is a cultural divide between the generations about job-hopping. Older generations, especially Boomers, hold onto the perspective that you remain at one job for as long as possible. Loyalty and hard work above all else is the strategy. However, this is not quite the case for Gen X, Millennials, and now Gen Z. 

New research has found the average millennial has already worked in as many jobs as those who are 55 have had over their entire career. One poll even found that those between 25 and 34 have had six different roles so far in their lives. Boomers typically label millennials as flippant or indecisive, yet they may miss some crucial reasons why younger people may job hop more frequently.

Changing jobs has benefits, and releasing the stigma can help jobseekers feel more comfortable in their choice to explore their options.

So, what are the benefits of job-hopping?

The primary benefits are:

  • becoming more well-rounded

  • learning new skills

  • higher salary

  • career advancement

  • promotion opportunities

  • flexibility and adaptability

  • being exposed to different experiences

  • seeking new environments

  • finding better work culture

Let’s dive into these primary benefits more to truly understand how job-hopping has changed in today’s market.

Employers seek people with cross-functional skills

When a person takes on a new role, they are opening themselves up to learning different skills and ways of working that can impact their future productivity. There is an opportunity for efficiency and refinement as one amalgamates past and newfound skills to create a more optimized outcome. This translates into being more well-rounded and multi-faceted. Employers seek people with skills that allow them to be more cross-functional and showcase various abilities. In an op-ed piece by LinkedIn CEO Edward Pierce, he mentions that well-rounded people exhibit foundational qualities like curiosity, passion, team skills, and a sense of humour. Each of these contributes to a better working situation and promotes overall positivity in any given situation.

A chance for a higher salary and/or career advancement

With changing jobs comes the potential to receive a higher salary. According to Pew Research, 63% of workers left their jobs in 2021 due to feeling underpaid. Moving to a new company or job can potentially mean a pay increase based on the valuable skills and experiences the person provides. A higher salary may also mean a career advancement. In the same study by Pew, 63% also quit their job because of a lack of growth opportunities. If one feels stagnant in their place of work, they may have an easier time finding a higher-level position elsewhere. 

Changing work environments can make you more adaptable

While flexibility at work is beneficial, it can also be crucial for people looking for a new job. Knowing that there are opportunities for more variety in work routines can stimulate creativity and adaptability within the workplace. This brings about an additional benefit to job-hopping. Changing careers or work environments can make the employee more amenable and mutable. They have chances to experience different situations, people, cultures, and backgrounds, making them more understanding. This can influence how an employee handles stress and how they can pitch hit in any given scenario. Flexibility is a learned behaviour through experience and exposure. This ability to adjust easily is mutually beneficial to both employers and employees alike. Elasticity can leverage worth and the overall flexibility within working environments.

You can seek out a culture that fits your morals and beliefs

Ultimately, one of the greatest factors in job-hopping is seeking out a culture that fits the jobseekers’ morals and beliefs. Millennials and Gen Z are more likely to work for a company that matches their values than any other generation. According to a Deloitte report, 39% of these generations care about their company’s purpose and impact on the community, while 47% seek ease of expression without discrimination. Work culture is a definitive reason to look for new work, as safety and accountability are part of positive work environments. If one feels safe, one is more likely to feel satisfied in their job. In addition, a better workplace culture embodies all the points before this. Through working for a company that embodies the values or beliefs of an employee, one can expect to constantly learn new skills, have growth opportunities, have more exposure, and find flexibility. This is all because of the support the worker feels from their employer. Nothing can replace the power of a positive work environment.

But, is it harmful to job-hop?

While all this sounds great, what cons may be anticipated from job-hopping?

As mentioned before, job-hopping can be a stigma that may feel harmful to the employee seeking to leave their job. In the last 20-30 years, this has changed. Yet, old habits die hard, and some may be more critical of job-hopping.

The negatives can be:

  • seeming inconsistent

  • job dissatisfaction

  • adjusting to changes

  • finding employment easily

You can seem inconsistent and not likely to stick around

One of the most significant risks in job-hopping is seeming inconsistent. Some may be worried about hiring employees who have moved around often because they are unable to see the potential in what they offer. Job-hopping can look like one is continually seeking greener grass when the hiring manager may not see the whole story. As outlined above, there are many reasons why an employee may decide to leave. So the viewpoint of inconsistency can be quite limiting; however, it is still quite a real perspective. One of the best ways to combat this in conversation or interviews is to talk about the power of experience, the profound flexibility obtained, and the well-roundedness created through changing jobs more frequently. Turn a seemingly feared perspective into an advantage.

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side

Through changing jobs; there is a risk of ending up somewhere that leaves little satisfaction. This can make one feel as though they are stuck or regret their decision to leave in the first place. While this may be true, there are opportunities to take what you have and learn from it. The jobseeker can learn what they do not want and how to potentially see red flags in future employers. Sometimes, exposure is needed to reinforce what one may find important. They learn to no longer compromise and can find a better fit in the future.

Additionally, nothing lasts forever. If the new job is less than desirable, it is ok to remove oneself from the situation and find something else that best suits their needs. This is part of adjusting to changes — pivoting when off course.

You may be stuck without a job

Lastly, the obstacle most feared in job-hopping is finding employment. If one leaves their job, could they ever get another again? How will it measure up? Fear of inflation and unemployment numbers can seem daunting. But the well-being of those unsatisfied should take just as much precedence. If one is unhappy with work, this will eventually bleed out into other areas of their life. At times, risk can be worth the reward. But the lack of security is a significant determining factor that keeps people stagnant in their jobs. Financial security is top of mind for both Millennials and Gen Z. Deloitte reports that about 46% of these generations live paycheck to paycheck, and roughly 29% don’t feel financially secure. This fear of stability may limit growth and cause inhibition in seeking new work. Yet, as outlined in the positives earlier in this article, there can be excellent career advancement made through job-hopping, along with pay increases. By overcoming the anxiety of not having enough, one can act and change their outlook for the better by seeking out new employment.

Key takeaways

Overall, job-hopping can have a harmful stigma attached to it, but as more and more young people are employed, it is becoming more of a reality.

75% of the workforce will be Millennials and Gen Z by 2025, and they are statistically more likely to change jobs more frequently. As there is a collective focus to put the negative perspective aside, one can easily see the benefits of changing careers.

Jobseekers recognize they hold the power in their hands to make changes. From well-roundedness to flexibility, employees can expect to gain exposure to various experiences that lead to their success. Pay increases, promotions, and better working environments are the top priorities when seeking new workplaces. These comprise the majority of reasons why people leave their current jobs. By job-hopping, the potential to better one’s lifestyle and overall well-being is increased, especially if they are making an advancement with a supportive work culture. In improving their lives, employees can turn that back toward the employer by elevating the environment and making it a more admirable workplace. People want to feel valued first and foremost.

So if asked if job-hopping is harmful, one can genuinely argue that it is one of the greatest assets to both employers and employees.

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