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The pros and cons of job hopping

What effect does job hopping really have on career trajectory? Let’s take a look at a few positives and negatives, and what they really mean.

job hopping

The typical career path that employees are expected to follow throughout their professional lives is changing. Even just a few decades ago, most people would stay within the same company for years and years, only making one or two moves, if any. Today, however, employees have much more freedom to shift between businesses, positions and even industries – especially in the flexible IT&T industry.

The modern employee

Job hopping is especially prevalent amongst the generation known as millennials – typically defined as those born during the 1980s and 90s. In fact, a recent survey from ManpowerGroup Solutions found that over half of Australian millennials are actively looking for their next position. This group of employees is often referred to as ‘continuous candidates,’ providing recruiters with an almost never ending stream of potential talent to place into positions across the country.

From an employee perspective, this offers all sorts of unique benefits, but it can also come with a downside. Many employers and recruiters see job hopping on a resume as a negative, signifying either an inability to hold down a position, or a lack or dedication and loyalty. This perception is changing, especially in industries like IT&T, but there are still a few definite pros and cons to a long list of previous employers.

Job hopping: The positives

For savvy job hoppers, switching between companies can be very beneficial to a career in terms of progression and salary. Not only will you get a chance to experience multiple sectors and ways of working, but it’s likely that moving from place to place will also mean you can move up the corporate ladder more quickly, instead of waiting for a position to open up at your current office.

This is reflected in salary differences between ‘hoppers’ and ‘loyalists,’ with Forbes reporting that employees who stay at the same company for more than two years can expect to be paid 50 per cent less over their lifetimes in comparison to those who actively seek change and growth. This is because the average annual raise an employee receives when staying at a company is less than 1 per cent, while moving to a different company typically results in an increase of 10 to 20 per cent.

Other benefits to take into account are greater variety over the course of a career, as well as the opportunity to travel both domestically and international. This is especially true in the tech industry, where contract work makes it possible to sample all sorts of different roles and projects without remaining tied down to one company.

Job hopping: The negatives

On the other side of the coin, job hopping can look bad on a resume, particularly if the duration at each employer is particularly short. The best way to avoid this is to make sure you’ve obtained good references from each position, and an explanation of why each stint was so short (e.g. contract work).

For certain positions, employers may see job hoppers as a risky investment. After all, nobody wants to invest significant time and money into an employee who won’t stay around to pay it off! However, if you’re after those long-term leadership positions, job hopping may not be the best strategy anyway.

Ultimately, it all comes down to the type of career path that you want, and to achieve those goals, you can get in touch with Talent today.