Many of you will remember the days when employees stayed with a company for 25+ years, climbing the proverbial corporate ladder.
As the number of millennials coming into the workforce increases, a trend which also seems to be on the rise is the number of job hoppers – employees who are at a position for 1-3 years before moving on to another job.
Traditionally considered a negative, employers used to label applicants with a history of job hopping as disloyal or unreliable. Hiring managers were concerned that these types of employees would work for a short amount of time and then leave, forcing the company to once again search to fill that position. In technical fields such as ours, you also need to factor in the resources employers invest in their employees to stay up-to-date on current technologies and practices.
However, the stigma once associated with job hopping is significantly less now than in years past. So why do employees leave after a short amount of time, and how are employers evolving to manage?
It is common for older generations to stay in a job longer because their priorities are typically job and financial security. One of the attitudes associated with younger generations in the workforce is the higher emphasis on job satisfaction, specifically finding a good work-life balance but also making a difference in the world. Keeping that in mind, job satisfaction is determined by a few factors.
Unsurprisingly, the first factor to consider is compensation. For example, the ability to negotiate higher salaries at different companies can lead to increased wages over the long term as opposed to going through the annual review cycle at one company. In addition, different companies will value the credentials of technology professionals differently, thus enticing these types of employees to their organizations. However, while paycheques are important, many employees will accept a lower salary if they are highly satisfied in a job.
Beyond compensation, another factor affecting job satisfaction is the corporate culture. Is there potential for career growth within the company? Do your managers and colleagues value your contributions? Are there external factors such as the current economic environment affecting your organization’s success? All of these play a significant role in determining how engaged employees are, and how likely they’re willing to stay or move on.
Another factor employees consider when job-hopping is their own personal circumstances. For example, employees can grow out of their position, and need changes in their responsibilities or duties to feel more involved. As professionals in a continuously evolving technological world, changing jobs can also expose you to a high variety of new industries, resources and technologies. Away from work, many factors at home, including family circumstances and the potential for relocation, can affect how long employees are in a job.
As you can imagine, employers reviewing applicants with a history of job hopping can interpret it in a variety of ways. In some instances, employers may be hesitant to hire you knowing you could be looking for the next best thing, or ready to jump ship at the first sign of trouble. You may even have a hard time getting a job because of damaged relationships from previous employers leading to less than desired references. Once you get the job, there might be some personal consequences such as forcing you to start at square one at a new organization, possibly affecting your seniority.
Knowing the factors that play a part in job hopping, employers are working to make it difficult for employees to leave their organization. For example, offering workplace flexibility such as flexible hours gives workers the ability to find the appropriate work-life balance they seek. Listening to employees gives younger generations the opportunity to feel heard, and ultimately engaged. Finally, communicating the company’s mission & values, especially in times of economic uncertainty, leads to higher buy-in into the company, and keep workers around for the long haul.
According to Forbes.com, the life lesson is “there are many benefits and drawbacks to job hopping – but if you do it for the right reasons and maintain healthy relationships with past employers, the pros should outweigh the cons and you’ll be seen as a flexible, resourceful candidate.”