Job Hopping: The Latest Career Trend

“Switching jobs every 1-3 years is the fastest way to increase your salary, especially early in your career. Because hiring budgets are higher than raise or retention rates.”

When companies seek new talent for their teams, red flags get raised when they see frequent position changes on a candidate’s resume. Hiring managers refer to this as “job hopping,” and see it to be a sign of a lack of commitment, loyalty, teamwork, or performance. In the past, this may have been partially true, but today as we face the after-effects of COVID-19 and The Great Resignation, many professionals who were laid off during the pandemic or have changed career paths are seeking a salary increase. Job hoppers today are making up to 30% more than they did at their last job, according to a Conference Board survey. Senior level and C-level executives are getting 30% more when they change jobs, which is a significant jump than lower level positions who only see a 10% or less increase in salary.

Employees across the country are starting to worry about how their salaries are going to keep up with the pace of inflation. Even if they’re happy in their current position, they have to pay the bills and support their families. 62% of all workers and 72% of millennial workers reported saying that this was a major concern for them. Job hopping has become the answer to this problem.

While some tech companies can afford to budget for retainment costs, others don’t have the option to give the 10-30% raises that employees are asking for in order to stay. While some settle for promotions or remote work flexibility, others leave and seek the hiring bonus from competitors. Hiring budgets are always higher than raise or retention rates, and workers know that. Job hopping isn’t something to look down on, but to instead reframe that workers are simply just valuing themselves to be worth more than what they’re getting.

So, what does a job hopper look like? Generally, they are staying at a job for one to three years at a time, and leave when they are dissatisfied with their pay, upward mobility, or the company culture. Some, however, leave when they are seeking to learn new skills or to be more challenged in their field.

Companies can have a strong advantage against competitors when they hire these people, as they may possess valuable skills and perspectives that a typical candidate would not. For example, a website developer that moves into a marketing role may be more valuable because they know how to use code, SEO, and other development tools to boost advertising on various platforms. Retaining talent that can wear multiple hats with ease is invaluable to the modern workplace.

Even though job hopping has become more popular post-pandemic, it’s important for both employers and candidates to remember what a responsible job hopper looks like. There needs to be a rationale for frequent position changes. Some examples of professional reasons to back up job hopping are: an opportunity that couldn’t be passed up, more money to support the household, a chance to relocate, or an opportunity to expand a particular skillset. Ensuring that the reasoning is sound makes both parties feel confident throughout the hiring process.

The bottom line, the market is changing for job seekers and employers. Hiring managers, keep an open mind and be receptive to unique job histories. There are hidden gems waiting in the vast pool of talent. Candidates, job hop responsibly and make sure you have the skills and reputation to back it up.