Job hopping is on the rise. Or rather, it might be more accurate to say that job hopping continues to be on the rise. After all, the trend has been growing steadily for a few years now, and as millennials are joined by generation Z (a.k.a. the digital generation) in the workforce, job hopping is fast becoming the norm, not the exception.

Source: Workopolis.com

With that, here’s everything you need to know about job hopping: what it is, who is doing it, why it’s gaining momentum, why employers fear it, and how you can benefit from it.

What it is

In general, job hopping refers to moving from job to job every 12 to 36 months. Dying are the days when a grad gets a job out of university and stays there until retirement – or layoffs. According to recent analysis from LinkedIn, the number of companies that the average grad works for in their first five years has almost doubled in the last 20 years – grads from 2006 to 2010 are averaging 2.85 jobs, compared to late ‘80s grads’ average of 1.6 jobs.

And while employers might, once up on a time, have simply shunned any job candidate with too much employment experience (more on that later), it’s now becoming a lot more tolerated (more on that later, too). According to a CareerBuilder survey, 32 per cent of employers now expect their workers to job hop, and 55 per cent of employers have hired a job hopper.

Who is doing it

Like so many big transformations in the workforce, job hopping is almost entirely attributed to millennials. Granted, some sources have argued that previous generations hopped around just as much, but in a recent poll, Gallup found that 21 per cent of millennials have changed jobs within the past year – a percentage that is three times higher than non-millennials. Gallup sums it up nicely:

“Millennials have a reputation for job-hopping. Unattached to organizations and institutions, people from this generation – born between 1980 and 1996 – are said to move freely from company to company, more so than any other generation.”

In addition, job hopping is more common in certain industries. LinkedIn’s analytics shows that hoppers are most common in media and entertainment, professional services, and the government, education, and non-profit industries. Meanwhile, those in oil and energy, manufacturing and industrial, and the aero/auto/transport industry hop around the least.

Why it’s gaining momentum

As for the question of why hopping is becoming so prevalent, Forbes offers a succinct answer: “Millennials can earn a higher salary, grow their career, change locations more frequently, and find a better cultural fit from job-hopping.”

In essence, hoppers are staunch believers that they don’t need to settle. They might be looking for a bigger paycheck, a better workplace culture, a stronger career path, more relevant perks, or a more desirable location – and they’re comfortable moving from job to job as different opportunities become available.

Job hopping also helps eager workers to amass an ever-growing arsenal of skills. In PWC’s Millennials at work study, the top benefit that millennials value from an employer is training and development – it beat out flex hours, cash bonuses, and even a bigger vacation allowance. According to the study: “Millennials expect to keep on learning as they enter the workplace and spend a high proportion of their time gaining new experiences and absorbing new information.” 

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