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Job-hopping: taboo or not taboo?

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While the concept of job-hopping isn’t new – there have always been people who move positions frequently compared to the job-for-lifers – recent statistics and surveys show that it is on the increase and here to stay, largely thanks to the millennial generation.

Previously dismissed as showing a lack of loyalty, patience and stability, job-hopping is starting to be viewed as pro-active, ambitious and career-focused. According to PWC, the millennial generation will make up 50% of the global workforce by 2020, so their preferences for their working lives, including culture and career progression, will soon become the norm. If job-hopping is commonplace for them, then employers ought to take note now and not just accept, but also embrace it. Doesn’t a varied CV potentially have wider skill sets? Isn’t experience in a range of roles a positive? With almost half of employees in another survey suggesting they won’t be in their job in two years time, perhaps a more fluid workforce is the future regardless.

As the first generation to fully grow up with technology at its heart (like Generation Z who follows them, no millennial can remember life offline or pre-mobile phones), millennials are used to instant access and responses, as well as vast choice. Their contemporaries are immediately available through social media and messaging, regardless of location. Worldwide travel is readily available; banking or shopping doesn’t involve queuing; and information on anything is at their fingertips. As such, job-hopping comes naturally to them – when they want to take the next step in their career, whatever their motivation, they can.

The main reasons for most people moving roles are a higher salary; career progression; new location; or better cultural fit. If there is a perceived lack of career development with a current employer and a viable opportunity elsewhere, then the job-hopper will go for it. If a new employer has an attractive work/life balance that suits them or is offering better compensation, why would the job-hopper not work there instead? Unfortunately, the reality is that not every “hop” is forward and upward. 

Those who move frequently need to be careful that it’s not just a sideways step for a change of scene. Alarm bells will ring with employers, particularly in the structured finance industry we know well, if moves are not seen as clearly progressive. Experience is only gained over time and a candidate will be found out if it’s not actually there, ultimately bringing into question their decision-making ability. It’s equally important to bear in mind the nature of leaving a role. In any sector, the chances of once again working with a former colleague is fairly high, so it’s important for moves to be positive and that no bridges get burned. 

While a job-hopping generation will change the face of work and careers, it won’t happen overnight or in every sector. There is still enough of a stigma attached to the transient nature of job-hopping that some employers will remain sceptical and vigilant, so if you’re considering a move in what may be considered too short a period of time since your last, then seek advice from a recruitment partner who can help you to define your career path and can advise you to hop, or not!