Job hopping is the latest trend to make a comeback this year and it looks like it’s here to stay. For those unaware, job hopping is where professionals frequently move from one job to another, staying for less than two years at each position.
The return of this trend has sparked a debate on how it can impact your career. What does job hopping tell your future employers? Is there a way to do it properly? This article aims to answer these questions.
The rise in ‘Job Hopping’ during the COVID-19 pandemic
As with most recent workplace trends, job hopping gained popularity during the pandemic. With job markets becoming more uncertain, and the onset of ‘The Great Resignation’, it seemed natural for people to want to switch jobs. Research shows that one-third of employees who switched jobs during the pandemic got a 30% pay bump.
The pandemic also brought with it ‘The Great Reassessment’, where people started to re-evaluate their priorities and goals for the future. A lot of working professionals also switched industries during this time to positions where they feel their work was valued and it brought a positive impact on society. In fact, 48% of professionals who quit their job since 2020 have changed sectors.
Generational differences in job hopping
According to a 2022 study conducted by LinkedIn, Gen Z is said to be the “most restless” generation, with 25% of the survey respondents saying they were planning to change jobs within the next six months.
This is because Gen Z is prioritising working for a company that shares their values and beliefs. They are committed to furthering their career and personal growth- but only at a company that supports their journey.
In contrast, the same study finds only 23% of millennials, 18% of Gen X and only 12% of Baby boomers wanting to switch jobs. As Gen Z and millennials are relatively new to the job market, they are likely to be more ambitious and want to climb the career ladder.
However, previous studies have found similar rates of job hopping in millennials, and older generations who grew up during the time of recession. A Gallup report from 2016 found 36% of millennials willing to switch jobs within the next year if offered better opportunities for growth. This shows that Gen Z is simply the latest generation to partake in this trend.
Regardless of generation, job hopping can have multiple effects on your career progression. While it is true that job hopping can result in a higher salary, frequent job hoppers can be viewed negatively by employers.
Disadvantages of job hopping
- Difficulty in getting hired
One of the main disadvantages that job hoppers face is difficulty in getting hired. A study found 44% of CFOs saying they would not hire a frequent job hopper, citing lack of trust as a reason.
Hiring managers are also less likely to thoroughly read your CV and cover letter if they are hiring for a position that has thousands of applicants. In these cases, job hoppers may not even make it to the interview stage.
- Lack of skill building
Another common disadvantage of job hopping is not being able to build on your skillset in terms of gaining experience. Job hoppers may possess many skills but maybe not be able to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of them due to their frequent career jumps.
Job hoppers will also have to constantly work to demonstrate their talent at every new job they take on which may hinder their long-term development.
- Commitment issues
Frequently switching jobs may also tell future employers that you are not willing to fully commit to a job. They might assume that you are not a team player and leaving when things get tough.
It may also be difficult to convince recruiters that you are a committed employee because of this, and they might not find value in investing a lot of time and resources in hiring you.
- Constant stress
Job hopping, if not done correctly, can have a massive toll on your mental and physical well-being. Job hoppers are often victim to ‘new job anxiety’ which can affect productivity and focus, often leading to burnout.
The process of constantly looking for new jobs is also time-consuming and exhaustive which can further fatigue job hoppers.
Can job hopping be good for your career?
Despite these reasons, job hopping is not a bad thing. It can actually benefit you career- if it is done right and with intention. Experts say that job hoppers with no employment gaps will not face as much scrutiny from recruiters because it implies that they are constantly in demand.
In today’s job market, employers are increasingly looking for professionals who bring multiple skills to the table and can handle many different responsibilities. So, job hoppers with diverse skillsets have a greater chance of being hired because they can keep up with change.
Additionally, it is a good idea to refine your job application to make sure it clearly explains why you switched jobs and what you learned from each position. If done right, it can show hiring managers that you are serious about growing your career.
Job hopping can provide a lot of benefits to professionals like higher salary, flexible working hours, or better employee culture. But before making that decision, here are 3 things to keep in mind:
- Re-assess your goals
Before changing jobs, it is always a good idea to evaluate your career plan. What skills do you have now? Where do you want to be? What do you need to do in order to get there? Asking these questions will help in structuring your cover letter and CV and help you answer interview questions about your ambitions more accurately.
- Do not make lateral career switches
One thing to avoid when job hopping is moving laterally. What that means is taking jobs that have the same job descriptions as your old position. If you are leaving your current job because of toxic work cultures, it is fine to take a similar job elsewhere. But to truly grow as a professional, it is better to move up to positions where your skills are recognised and rewarded fairly.
- Never burn bridges
While it may be tempting to cut all contact with the old colleagues you dislike, it is better to stay in touch and leave on good terms. This is especially useful. If you are moving within your current industry as they may have valuable contacts or can even provide a reference that can help you.
It is clear that job hopping as a trend is not going anywhere due to the current state of the job market. It can elevate your career and skillset along with providing a diverse set of experiences that will only add to your value. If you are considering job hopping, make sure that you are doing it for the right reasons and have done enough research about the available opportunities and have a structured career plan.
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