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Job-hopping: A Trend of the 21st century

In today’s workplace, you see millennials job-hopping more frequently than ever before, with the average tenure of 3 years in an organisation. Companies wonder if they are not doing enough in terms of compensation to retain these talents. With this job-hopping trend, society have started to perceive these millennials workers as disloyal, lazy and entitled, among many others. But is this really the case?

Based on a survey conducted by Ernst & Young, it found that millennials were the most tech savvy group of employees in the workplace today. This allows them to leverage social media to execute their tasks, in addition to being ranked as the most entrepreneurial group of employees. This evolution of technology has changed the playing field entirely, resulting in organisations needing to change their strategies to retain these millennials.

Why do millennials job-hop?

The older generation of our workplace generally value job security and stability more than the millennials. Millennials of today are gunning for career progression, flexible work arrangements and a culture fit with their organisation. These are the factors that allow them to feel valued and recognised for their contributions. Without these factors, we see that millennials are more inclined to job-hop.

But is job-hopping really a bad thing? I once heard of a story of 2 employees who started work at the same firm on the same day with the same pay. Employee A was one who valued loyalty and job security, hence, he did not change his job in the next 3 years. As for Employee B, he was quick to job hop whenever a better salary prospect came up. 3 years later, when Employee A and B met up for coffee, Employee B was already earning 3.4 times the salary of Employee A who stayed in the same company!

As job-hopping becomes increasingly common today, we see that millennials who job-hop earn a higher level of compensation, attain greater career progression and culture fit with their organisations. This will in turn enhance their motivation and boost their job performance, resulting in win-win situation for both employees and their organization. So, the next time you think that a millennial is slacking off while on the job, think again, he might be generating more profits for the company than you are.

Is it better to job-hop, or stay put?

However, from the perspective of a recruiter, is he more inclined to hire Candidate A who has changed more than 3 jobs in the past year? Or hire Candidate B who is only about to make his first jump after working for the past 8 years in his current firm?

I spoke to a recruiter recently to get his views. He told me that millennials should stay for at least 2 years in their current employment or job, to allow growth to take place. For example, if one were to change job every 6 months or less, it gives the recruiter an impression that he or she is an underperformer or is unable to cope with the work given. On the other hand, if another talent has worked in his or her current firm for a period of about 2 years or more, it signals that the talent has already learnt what there is to learn in that firm, or in his words, “he has already maximised his growth there and is ready to move on to learn more.”

Hence, even though the trend of job-hopping is increasingly prevalent in today’s workplace, we should not always see it in a negative light. Job-hopping can indeed increases one’s value in the workplace.


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