Hopping the job fence

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I’ve been in my job only 18 months since graduation, and I’m interested in another position. Is job hopping so soon a bad career move?

A recent CareerBuilder survey reported 45 percent of professionals planned to stay with their current employers for no longer than two years. The question is should a recent grad be job hopping. Millennials get a bad rap for the rate at which they change jobs, but is it really still considered a bad thing?

Generally, job hopping tends to decelerate as job responsibility increases. Regardless of the stage of your professional career, responsibility will put the brakes on jumping jobs when another opportunity appears. The additional expenses of mortgages, partners, children, schools and vacations means that it is time to settle down and look towards long-term employment. The all-important steady pay check, a company with good benefits and retirement plans suddenly become major priorities.

Recent grads commonly do not fall into this category and they have widely varying views on job hopping compared to older generations. According to surveys, 26% of millennials believe that employees should only be expected to stay in a job for a year or less before looking for a new position. Many assume job hopping is limited to business professions seeking a more lucrative offer. Surprising statistics show that new grads entering the medical field as a pediatrician, oral surgeon and dermatologist only stay in their first position for under 2 years.

The issue is a generational one with the baby boomers, a large generation born between 1946 and 1964, entering retirement as the millennials started to enter the workforce. There are not enough from the Generation X, 1965 to 1984, to fill this depleting workforce. This means it is necessary to promote millennials into management or senior positions above their entry level ones, which gives rise to job hopping in a lucrative market. The effects of a post war population boom are rippling through the employment market today.

There are a number of benefits associated with job hopping, such as a varied background which could be attractive to some employers. Increasing your exposure to different industries will develop your skillset and experience across a number of fields. Networking opportunities are far greater with a number of different jobs, and there will be greater opportunity for pay increases and promotions.

There are also a number of drawbacks such as loyalty, which will be lacking if you do not plan to stay around for long. Job security will be on the light side, and you could be first out if redundancies are lurking. You may not be able to see the long-term impact of your work and growth will be hampered by moving around. Your reliability will be questioned the older you get, since 41% of employers see job hopping as unacceptable for those over 30.

Your field and industry can have an impact on the likelihood and success of jumping from job to job. Companies in the IT sector have the greatest talent shortage, hence the most job hopping at 42%. The challenge, explains one website startup devoted to coupons, is to retain the best employees, using internships, stock options and frequent job performance evaluations.

Leisure and hospitality are very close second at 41% turnover. With a third of employers expecting it from graduates, job hopping is no longer considered a bad move.

I have been typecast in my career, although the type changes with the decades… Paul Hirsch.

Written by John Regan, former Director of Sales, for equity research.