If you’re like most people in the workforce, you’ve almost certainly been cautioned at some point to be careful not to change jobs too quickly. This advice usually comes from older workers who are familiar with the status quo of previous decades, where long term employment was the norm and you could expect to stay at the same company until retirement.
It sounds nice, but those days were long past twenty years ago. “Job hopping” is now the growing trend, and you can expect it to become only more prevalent as we move further into the 21st century. But why is that? The answer is that the changing economic landscape all but mandates workers to move to this new model.
Forget about long term employment
Long term employment made sense in the past. Companies would take on workers fully expecting to retain them for up to 40 years. Changing jobs more than once was seen as a red flag, and so employees were in general loathe to do so. Plus, there was often a cushy pension awaiting the loyal employee who stayed until retirement.
There’s also something to be said for the ability to focus on a single workplace condition for a number of years. Being able to gain an intimate knowledge of a business’s operating conditions made it easier for employees to optimize processes and develop close, lucrative relationships with vendors and customers.
Staying at one job for so long has its drawbacks. It can get tedious to spend decades seeing the same people and performing the same tasks. Even worse, if workplace relations soured, the employee might feel undue pressure to stick around and bear the stress of enduring a hostile workplace.
The new paradigm: Job hopping
Job hopping became much more common after the turn of the millennium. The advantages of a varied job history are nowadays so great that even interviewers at many companies now say they prefer to employ job seekers that have experience at a wide range of other businesses. This is quite a change from the black marks that employers often gave it in the past.
How does job hopping beat long term employment? There are a number of reasons:
– De facto promotion: Oftentimes it’s much harder to get a promotion at one’s current company than it is to simply get another job and ask for a higher salary and/or title.
– Receive more and better training: Going through the training procedures for a variety of companies means that the resulting job candidate is much more well-rounded and developed in the field than their peers. The ability to refer to many different operating procedures is sure to impress interviewers.
– Network growth: The number one way that most people find their jobs is by tapping their network of friends and former coworkers. The more workplaces one has been a part of, the more people one can add to that network. A robust network can also help a worker benefit their company, as it can help in the search for reliable clients or trustworthy contractors.
– Greater job security: Ironically enough, hopping from job to job is likely to improve your chances of continuous employment. Someone who gets a lot of practice interviewing will find it easier and more comfortable to undergo the hiring process. Additionally, the aforementioned network will also provide many more opportunities the larger it is.
Other factors in the rise of job hopping
The above factors describe how job seekers benefit from job hopping. But those benefits are not the only reason for its prevalence. The fact of the matter is, millennials have different career priorities than previous generations, and these are a big driver for the current job hopping trend.
With the economic crashes of the last decade, long term employment no longer appears to be the sure bet that it once was. To new entrants to the workforce who watched as older long term employees were laid off en masse, staying at the same company for life appeared akin to putting all one’s eggs in a single basket.
Additionally, the younger generation also puts more value on job satisfaction than previous generations. This is both a blessing and a curse; while it’s good for employees to bounce out of unpleasant workplace conditions, it also means they’re less likely to stick around when a business goes through hard times.
Globalization has also had a big effect on the rise of job hopping. Thanks to the internet, it’s now possible to live in one country, be hired by a company in another country, and work with clients located halfway around the world. Not only that, but with the internet allowing people to freelance so easily, the gig economy is also growing. With so many options for getting hired, computer-savvy millennials have realized that there’s no reason for a worker to stick around if they believe they can get a better offer elsewhere.
Job hopping is here to stay
Like it or not, job hopping is now all but the expected norm. Any employer who holds out for that loyal employee will likely have a long wait ahead of them.
That being said, for companies that do value a long tenure, the above facts should serve as a reminder of how to ensure that employees don’t move on too quickly. An enjoyable workplace, regular promotions, good pay and plenty of benefits go a long way to increasing employee satisfaction and as a result, retention.
But for those companies that embrace the modern job landscape, hiring job hoppers will improve your company’s quality tenfold. The more places a job candidate has worked, the more experienced they tend to be. Being exposed to a lot of different standard operating procedures means they will come up with the versatile solutions a company needs to retain the flexibility required to succeed and thrive.
Workforce expectations of the 21st century may be different from that of the past, but there’s no reason to bemoan the change. Instead, with the right attitude this new paradigm can benefit all, enabling job seekers and employers to find the right fit for one another.
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