Job-hopping, Does it help or hurt your career?


Job hopping syndrome has for the longest time been a stigmatized phenomenon by most employers. Recruiters are not keen to engage with candidates whose CV shows the slightest indication that they frequently and voluntarily change jobs. Job hopping was considered career suicide until recent times. Millennials have revolutionized how institutions look at job longevity. An employees loyalty and stability are no longer measured by how long one has been with an organisation. Instead, a plethora of factors such as performance, motivation, financial and non-financial compensation system, working conditions, organisational structure, among many others, determine the period one will be in an organisation.

Some of the most significant influences on the increasing nature of job-hopping are:
  • Gig Economy: Most organisations are adopting an open and flexible economy. They prefer part-time, outsourced and contract workers as opposed to permanent and pensionable open-ended contracts.
  • The enticement of fast career advancement and salary increase.
  • Technology: the tech space has made it easier for people to network, give recommendation and apply for jobs
  • Age: Millennials represent 35% of the global workforce, and the numbers continue to grow daily. According to the Accountemps survey, 57% of this workforce saw job-hopping as beneficial to their career.
  • Increased level of education: A 2018 job-hopping survey saw millennials to be more educated than the previous generations. The study also found that highly educated employees do not stay in one job for a long time. Workers with high school certificates tend to remain in a position for an average of 4.4 years. Those with college diplomas stayed for an average of 4.1 years, while those with bachelor’s degree stayed for an average of 3.3 years.
  • Nature of occupation: According to the job-hopping survey, individuals in in-demand careers are perennial job hoppers. Techies such a  servers and software developers tops the occupation list with the highest number of job hoppers. Teachers, administrative assistants and nurses have the lowest job-hopping tendencies as the demand for these careers is relatively low.

So, what are the benefits of job-hopping?

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  1. Provides exposure to how different industries operate and multiple organisational cultures. Every job offers a  unique learning curve that eventually changes employees’ outlook on their occupation and workplace issues. It expands their wealth of experience as they have access to more information and resources. Their network is diverse as it cuts across the different industries they worked.
  2. Increased compensation package: in most cases, a new job means better pay or better working conditions. For most job hoppers, it means they get better at salary negotiation as they do it often. For employers that cannot offer a higher salary, the entire compensation package is always better than the previous ones.
  3. Advanced and diverse skillset: changing jobs is a great way to gain new skills. Each job comes with new learning and growth at a personal and professional level, which is advantageous in the current labour market to stay competitive.
  4. Fast upward career trajectory: cases of individuals hopping themselves to the top are common, especially in startups and growing industries. These companies rely heavily on recommendations for hiring. Such companies also present an opportunity for job-hoppers to showcase their expertise and attributes. Qualities such as their flexibility, adaptability and ability to learn quickly are their unique selling point.
  5. Offers a chance to find the right organisational fitOrganisational fit occurs when an employees personal and professional values, ethics and beliefs align with those of the organisation. Job hopping presents candidates with an opportunity to move across various organisations and industries until their cause and values sync with those of the organisation. Hopping offers the candidate a chance to figure out what they want and don’t want in their career. In job-hopping, candidates can figure out what is important in their career in terms of growth, remuneration, career environment, etc. It also offers a chance for candidates to figure themselves out career-wise.

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Job hopping also comes with its fair share of challenges and drawbacks such as; 
  1. Job hopping reputation which can be detrimental to one’s career. Some industries and career levels value commitment. Industries like banking, teaching and career levels such as the c-suite, job-hopping is frowned upon.  Job hoppers are viewed as quitters. Most employers in such industries are not keen to take a chance on such candidates because they are not sure of their long-term dependability. They look at job-hoppers as individuals buying time before the next best offer comes.
  2.  Missed opportunities: due to the speed at which job hoppers accept new opportunities, they miss out on benefits associated with being with an employer for a significant period. Job hoppers don’t stay in one place long enough to establish themselves, so they miss out on crucial benefits such as vacation time, networking opportunities, employer pension scheme, perfecting a new skill, team bonding, promotion, etc.  Job hopping means having to start afresh constantly, and even if one is lucky to get such benefits elsewhere, some come with a waiting period.
  3.  Strained relationships: It takes several people to land a desirable job. One’s Mentor, referees and career network contribute in one way or another. Frequently changing jobs end up damaging these valuable relationships. The inability to build lasting relationships may also interfere with a candidates career advancement. They may experience difficulty finding professional individuals who know them well enough to recommend them for a future role.
  4. Scattered experience: Job hoppers lack a deep understanding of how companies and industries operate. One month the job hopper is in the energy sector, and nine months down the line, they are in the telecommunication industry. They lack the specialized expertise that comes with being in one place for a significant amount of time. They tend to lack demonstrable results and accomplishment, which make employers write them off.
  5. Might indicate career goals uncertainty: Someone who moves from one job to another might indicate they are unsure what they want careerwise. It shows a person who settles for anything that falls on their plate. It indicates the candidate lacks a career blueprint that directs one’s big picture goals.Working conditions; the modern employee is woke. A toxic work environment characterized by: underemployment, underpayment, job misrepresentation, unfair practices, bad organisational cultures and others, will make an employee hop jobs till they find one that aligns with their values and purpose.


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