Is Job Hopping Inevitable?

As long time readers know, I tend to be pretty opinionated.  Recently, I’ve gotten sucked into a conversation thread on LinkedIn about job hopping.  It’s semi interesting–much of it is people rationalizing why they move from job to job to job.

Much of the job hopping phenomenon has been attributed, incorrectly I think, to millennial.  “That’s the way they are, we just have to accept it.”

First, job hopping isn’t primarily limited to millennials, I see people in every age group doing it.

Second, I think it’s unacceptable to resign ourselves to thinking of this as the future of the workplace.  Leaders that do are probably not doing their jobs.

Let’s look at the business impact of job hopping.  The true business costs aren’t just the recruiting and onboarding costs for replacing people.  The true business costs is $100’s of thousands to millions in lost productivity (individual, managerial, organizational) and lost opportunity.

While the argument can be extended to any role. I’ll focus on sales.  We all see the data that in complex B2B sales organizations, the average onboarding time is 10 months.  In our experience, we see onboarding times that are sometimes longer than a year.  Remember this is the time to get people up to a “run rate” of full productivity.  During this time, there are huge opportunity costs, whether it is territory that’s not covered, inexperienced people losing deals that might have otherwise been won.  For a discussion of this, look at my article, The High Cost Of A Salesperson.

Now add another data point.  Average sales tenure in the job with the same company is 22 months.

Think about what this means.  We’ve spent 10 months getting them ramped up to be productive, then they leave 12 months later.  Unless we are recovering the expected productivity of the full 22 months, in those 12 months, this is a huge money losing practice!

Stated differently, in months 11-22, they have to be significantly over performing for us to break even on them.

But we already know the answer to this.  Huge numbers of sales people are not achieving their goals and companies aren’t meeting their numbers.

There’s more that one can look at in assessing the business impact of job hopping, but I’ll stop here.  By it self, this simple business analysis of accepting job hopping as inevitable shows an absolutely unacceptable picture.

If we want to do something to improve business results, we have to focus on retaining our people.  We have to rid ourselves of the belief that job hopping is inevitable.

How do we start to address this issue?

Again, there’s a lot of research that tell us the reasons and gives us clues for what we have to do about it.

People, of all ages, voluntarily leave jobs for a variety of reasons, including:

A bad direct manager.

They see no opportunities for learning, growth, and development both professionally and personally.

They don’t feel that management values or cares for them as human beings.

Consequently, they don’t feel their ideas are valued or listened to.

People want to contribute to the company and have that opportunity to contribute.

They want to be part of something that’s exciting and growing.

They want to work for an organization that contributes to society or the world, in some way.

They want to work with people who trust them and who they can trust.

They want to feel a value part of something, not just a commodity that can be replaced.

There are a lot more, but I’ll stop here.

There’s no inherent reason companies can’t do these things–in fact the great one’s do, but of course they don’t have a job hopping problem.  But if you are reading between the lines, you are starting to see the root of the problem may be a leadership issue.

There’s another layer to this problem, and this may be more specific to millennial.  They all grew up in the late 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s.  During that time, companies were downsizing/rightsizing/restructuring, they saw their parents being laid off.  They saw their parents and jobs being commoditized, hired when demand is up, laid off when demand is down.

They saw parents who were loyal to their companies, often wanting to work for one or a very small number of companies over a career being abandoned by those companies.

Where prior generations saw loyalty to a company as a virtue, their children saw the companies not being loyal to their parents.  As a consequence, loyalty to an employer is not part of their value system.

Frankly, company leadership has, for the most part, earned this lack of loyalty.

I’m not naive.  There are business ups and downs, there are cycles that are unpredictable.  This is not new, it’s always been a part of business and companies have to right size.  But good companies recognize this and try to keep these to a minimum.

Others, view people like commodities.  When we need more inventory, we get more, when demand is down, we get rid of inventory.  They treat people the same way.

On top of this, organizations get sloppy at people management.  It’s tough managing performance issues.  It takes time and commitment on the part of everyone.  Rather than managing these issues, too many managers take the cowardly way out, simply laying off people because it’s easier than doing the right thing.

People aren’t dumb, they get this, they see how they are being treated, so they start looking out for themselves–which has further devastating consequences to overall company performance.  They keep looking for better opportunities–which they should.

Which gets us to where we are today.  Where everyone believes job hopping is simply the new workplace dynamic.

The root problem is a leadership problem and until top management recognizes this and starts truly valuing its people, the situation won’t change.  Until top leaders understand the devastating business consequences of this and decide (or have their boards decide) to take action, the situation won’t change.

The good news is there are lot of companies and inspire management teams that get this.  They are both the top performing companies in their segment, they are at the top of the most admired lists, and they are the companies that have no talent attracting and retaining top performers.

Job hopping is not inevitable.  It’s devastating for companies, and I believe, from an individual point of view, it’s probably not the best way to build a career.

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A version of this was first posted on Partners in Excellence blog.

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How to Make Job Hopping IT Pros Settle Down

More than half of U.S. employees are watching the job market or actively looking for a job, according to a recent survey conducted by Gallup. In IT, the job hopping trend is even more prevalent. A survey of hiring managers and human resource professionals conducted by CareerBuilder in May 2014, found that IT employers were the most likely to expect professionals to job-hop.

With the wide variety of IT jobs available, it’s no surprise professionals are always on the lookout for new opportunities. But the job hopping epidemic in tech can be cured. Here are a few things you can do to keep job hopping tech talent around long-term:

Focus on strengths

Job hoppers are in search for IT jobs that allow them to do what they love every day, the Gallup survey found. Among employees employed for less than three months, 58 percent strongly agreed that the ability to do what they do best was important to their decision to take their current job, and 60 percent said it was important to their decision to leave their new job for another.

Allowing tech pros to do what they excel in can also boost performance and engagement. A 2015 survey from Michelle McQuaid and the Via Institute on Character found that employees perform better and are more engaged in their work when they — and their managers — focus on building their strengths.

In the talent search, be clear on what the job role and responsibilities are and what strengths are needed for the position, and then find the professional with those strengths. When tech pros are happy and engaged with their work, job hopping is less likely.

Discuss salary

Moving from one job to the next bumps salaries, and job hoppers are looking for the IT jobs that pay the most. In the Gallup survey, 49 percent of those who had been employed for less than three months said that a significant income increase was an important factor in their decision to take their current job.

In tech, salary is especially important. In the 2015 Healthcare Information Technology Salary Report, conducted by my company,, health IT professionals surveyed felt they deserved to be earning more money — $18,000 more, on average.

Talking openly about salaries early on can keep talented tech professionals from job hopping. A 2015 survey of 71,000 employees by PayScale found that one of the top predictors of employee satisfaction and their intent to leave was a company’s ability to communicate clearly about compensation.

When employers paid less than the industry standard, but communicated about the reasons for the lower salary, 82 percent of employees were satisfied with their work. However, employees who were overpaid and didn’t have a conversation about their pay with their employers were less likely to be satisfied.

When offering a position to job hoppers, and other IT professionals, have an open conversation about salary. Let them know how the salary is determined, how raises and bonuses are earned, and the growth potential for their salary.

Offer stability

Although job hoppers appear to love change, they may actually be looking for stability in IT jobs. In a survey of tech professionals published by CareerBuilder in January 2014, 69 percent of respondents said job stability was more important than salary.

Offer IT professionals a stable working environment and career path, to bring them onboard for the long-term. Explain possible career paths to the candidate to show how they can grow with the company and advance their career. With continued growth and advancement, tech professionals will stay engaged and won’t feel the need to look for more opportunities.

A job that is both stable and promises growth development may make job hoppers feel comfortable enough to stick around.

Keep development going

When job hoppers start working for a new employer, they’re initially engaged. The employer is focused on development and tech employees are happy. But after the honeymoon period, development efforts fade and job hoppers get bored, the Gallup results indicated. In the survey, employees who had worked for a company for less than three years were more likely to have opportunities to learn and grow, speak with someone about their progress, and have someone at work who encourages their development, than employees who had been with a company for 10 years or more.

Development and continuing education are especially important in IT jobs, as technology constantly changes. Keep growth and development as a priority — even after an employee has been with the company for 10 years. Build a culture of development in which managers encourage employees to attend conferences and events, complete courses and certifications, and pursue other growth opportunities.

Job hopping in tech is a popular trend, but you can take steps to make talented professionals want to stay put. Give job hoppers what they’re looking for and watch them put down roots.

Have you hired job hopping tech pros? How did you keep them around? Let us know in the comments below!

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Why Job Hopping Hurts Your Retirement

Promise of a substantial salary hike by your current employer’s rival company, wooing you for some time to join its ranks, can be really enticing. After all who does not want to earn more? But, wait! Is it all worth it especially when it has not been even two years since you joined your present work-place? Such job offers or seeming opportunities could as well be a honey-trap if you bite the bait without assessing the pros and cons of your action. Any step taken in haste may as well translate into a difficult post-retirement phase with very little savings to fall back on to meet your essential daily and old-age health and other expenses. Is, then, job hopping, such a bad thing to do when a large section of employable young and mid-career professionals these days take it as a short cut to higher salary jobs and quick rise in life? Not in the least, if one does his or her homework well and chalks out an exit plan on the basis of existing financial standing to cope with the vagaries of a life after retirement.

Don’t hop, instead save!!

It has been established now that frequent job-changes have a debilitating impact on retirement savings. A study by ‘Employee Benefit Research Institute’ concludes: In 2008 the median job period of workers in the US was 5.1 years. The figure has since come down to nearly 4.4 years, as per ‘Bureau of Labour Statistics assessment’.

Frequently job-hopping? Face the music!

  • Saving for retirement becomes difficult
  • It means moving in and out of retirement coverage. Result: small nest egg
  • In some organisations new employees need to wait before they can join retirement saving plan
  • In some organisations 401(K) match schedules are meant to reward long serving employees, for job hoppers there is little to gain
  • May have to forgo employer contribution to 401 (K): ‘Fidelity’ finding on the basis of analysis of about 500,000 retirement savers who quit jobs in 2013
  • “Chronic job hopping could really sink your retirement savings,” cautions Meghan Murphy, a director at ‘Fidelity’

What Employers Want?

  • Over one third of employers insist on employees continuing with them for at least 5 years to keep their full match: ‘Plan Sponsor Council of America’ finding.
  • About 14 per cent of employers insist workers stay with them for a minimum of 2-3 years to get any money: Plan Sponsor Council of America finding.

Damage Control:

  • Important to go through current employer’s vesting schedule related to 401(K) and profit-sharing contributions
  • Be wise: If waiting for a few more months enables you take thousands of dollars in saving then continue with the same employee till that time-frame
  • Don’t hesitate to negotiate with new employer even if not fully vested in your 401(K). Tell them how you will lose in savings if you quit now
  • Some employers may like to compensate for the loss by agreeing to pay higher salary or a signing bonus.


  • It is recommended that job hoppers sock away 10 – 15 per cent of salary each year to insulate him or her against any unforeseen financial difficulties
  • Plan your retirement well in advance
  • Ideally start saving when in your 20s

Can Self directed IRA be saviour?

  • In fact, all IRA are self-directed. So the use of word self-directed is redundant
  • IRA or ‘Individual Retirement Account’ is a type of individual retirement plan
  • Banks, brokers or similar financial institutions provide it
  • It ensures tax benefits on retirement savings for taxpayers in the US
  • Individual retirement accounts and broader category of IRA fall under it
  • A trust account is set up for the only benefit of taxpayers along with individual retirement annuity
  • Taxpayer purchase an annuity contract or an endowment from a life insurance firm
  • Self directed IRA allows IRA account holders to invest in a broader range of alternative investments such as real estate, private mortgages, private company stock, oil and gas LPs, precious metals, horses and intellectual property
  • While investing IRA assets into alternative investment it is imperative to select right self-directed IRA custodians
  • Majority of custodians dealing in stocks, bonds and mutual funds are incapable of providing proper custody to alternative investments
  • As per Internal Revenue Service (IRS) norms either a qualified trustee, or custodian, should hold the IRA assets on behalf of the IRA owner
  • Custodian of a self-directed IRA may allow account owner access to a selection of standard asset types including stocks, bonds, and mutual funds
  • Account owner can invest an investment that is not barred by Internal Revenue Code or IRC

Best option!

This brings us to one pertinent question: Where should you save your retirement money? If you go by public perception based on real time experience then tax-favored IRAs and 401(k) clearly stand out as the most attractive propositions. Retirement plans allow retirees to defer taxes on the money saved and returns earned within account. This entails: contributed amount becomes tax free till one starts withdrawing it years later. In the process, more of your money earns you investment returns over a period of time.

Could Job-Hoppers Be A Good Investment?

Job-Hopping is bad. Those who skip from job to job, should be banned from recruiting circles and shunned by the employment offices. It will wreck your career if you leave before the 2-year mark!

Previous and current generations have internalized, lived and believed it all, keeping them at jobs they dislike. Even Millennials who want new-age benefits like flex-work and volunteering opportunities are staying in their positions longer than workers of previous generations. Whether those choices are due to the struggle to find better opportunities or the fear of disappointing Baby Boomer parents remains uncertain. One thing is clear: job-hopping has always carried a bad stigma.

But how accurate are these statements? Does job-hopping really hurt your career? Should recruiters overlook resumes with several careers where there should be just a couple?

Times Are A’Changing

When it comes to changing jobs, 41% of baby boomers believe employees should stay in their positions for at least 5 years before considering a move, while 21% say that between 4-5 years is sufficient. And younger generations have been raised by these loyal employees to carry the weight of staying at each job they take for long blocks of time.

It is believed that someone with a flighty job history lacks ambition, is easily bored, isn’t loyal or reliable or is just not serious about employment. Alternately, those who have longer stints in a position are seen to be the opposite, which leads to the latter usually receiving the offer. Meanwhile, candidates who frequently move from one job to another catch grief in the interviews they are given a chance to attend.

While these ideas weigh on the minds of the incoming workforce, younger generations are challenging the school of thought. Only 13% of those born between 1982 and 2002 believe waiting for the 5-year mark is necessary. In fact, 25% believe looking for another position before a year is up is okay.

Bored Or Teeming With Aspiration?

More of the upcoming workforce is receiving formal education, leading to the most educated generation in history. Employees want to feel like their expensive education is benefiting their careers. Unfortunately, many employers are not catching on to this or are simply unable to offer more growth opportunities. It used to be that promotion or more responsibility came with time, but this new generation of worker does not want to wait.

Lack of advancement is the number one reason people leave their jobs, and 89% of employees with bachelor’s or graduate degrees find it annoying to not feel empowered by their boss. When a few months go by and no additional assignments are offered, employees fear stagnation and, in return, begin exploring their options. For many, finding new employment is the only hope to be challenged in their position.

Does Ambition Mean More Skills?

Though these workers are being considered more educated by way of formal work, many are not experienced. With many entry-level positions requiring at least a little experience, workers are determined to have examples of previous employment-provided skills that give the upper hand. If it seems no skills will be being obtained in a current position, employees are open to new positions that have those opportunities.

This might seem like a challenge to organizations, but it’s actually a benefit to growing teams. Employees who have moved around within their careers bring fresh points of view to each new employer and excitement in learning new tasks and procedures. Being open to challenges and cross-training, job-hoppers have worked with numerous people and personalities, which could mean they are experienced team players. Job-hopping could also point to a strategic mind, since it’s known among the professional community that employees who stay at the same job for more than 2 years find their learning power significantly reduced.

It’s true that recruiters have little time to make big decisions. In those precious 6 seconds of reading resumes, job history is a huge concern, but instantly throwing that shifty job history to the no pile might be losing the organization that next great new hire. It might be time to rethink the job-hopping applicant.

About the Author: A 20-year veteran of the recruiting industry, CEO Greg Rokos provides strategic direction for GreenJobInterview® and is responsible for marketing its video interviewing software through client meetings, conferences, speaking engagements, key channel partnerships and other activities. Alongside fellow co-founder Theo Rokos, Greg is one of the pioneers of cloud-based video interviewing.

photo credit: Intrepid Explorer Lianne via photopin (license)

Busting The Burning Myths About Job Hopping

A relatively recent term, “job hopping” is now used in mainstream society as a way to describe the phenomena of hopping from one job to the next job, rather than maintaining one job or career throughout the course of a lifetime. Here’s what you need to know about job hopping, as well as some myths we will dispel about it.

Classically, as children we are taught to be loyal, hardworking, and dedicated. This carries over into our careers in school, then into the workforce. Years ago, in the Baby Boomer generation, to “job hop” carried a very negative stigma, which some still fear to this day. There are a lot of pros and cons with job hopping, but certain myths have linked a kind of social stigma with the term.

In previous generations, it was the social norm for one to graduate college, enter the workforce and then stay with the same company until retirement age. Very few dared to hop from one job to the next. These days though, we live in a very different world. Evolution of our thought process is necessary to keep up with how everything is changing. Let’s look at some myths about job hopping.

3 Common Myths about Job Hopping

  1. If you job hop, it means you aren’t loyal or dedicated.
    Many who fear job hopping worry they may come across as flaky or disloyal, or think they may be seen as too self-serving or lazy. In reality, none of these negative traits have anything to do with job hopping. In fact, according to IT staffing expert Daren Hicks, “Some of the hardest working, dedicated individuals are also job hoppers. Being dedicated to one’s work should not equate to staying in a position where growth potential is limited.”
  2. Having a resume that looks too “busy” is a bad thing.
    Most people are of the opinion that if you have too much going on with your resume, this will be seen in a negative light. While it’s important to have a concise resume, maintaining the same job for years and years may have more negative connotations these days than positive ones. Although it shows you can hold a position for a long time, what it doesn’t show is growth, versatility and a variety of experience. These days, more employers are likely to hire you if you have a wider skill set, which is generally obtained from working in more than one position in more than one company.
  3. You will lose the stability and expertise of your current position.
    While it’s true that changing jobs can be scary, the truth is that for the most part “job security” is an illusion, and is not what it used to be. Even if you work the same position all of your life, you are still at risk for being terminated for financial reasons, because there are always others who are willing to work for less pay. Just because you care about your company does not always mean it cares about you. If a position or company no longer fits you, this generally means it’s time to move on. Although no one wants to be the new person at a company, this opens you up to endless possibilities as well as career advancement. Not only will you be able to learn a number of new things, but you also will expand your network as you interact with new people in a variety of new situations.

There are pros and cons to job hopping; we’re always told that job hopping is bad for a career, but during your 20s and early 30s, it’s actually a good idea. Unfortunately, some hiring managers who are used to the old practices of hiring may be more likely to overlook someone’s resume that has job-hopped. It would benefit them greatly to keep an open mind about this though, because job hoppers have consistently been proven to be positive risk takers who can benefit a company tremendously.

Not only are many job hoppers leaders as opposed to blind followers, but they also are often the types of people who have a lot of drive and ambition, and are innovative. Job hopping is essential for this current generation particularly because of the current job market as well as technology that plays a big role. For professionals in the IT field, for example, this point is extremely important because they must keep up with current technology and systems. Since the job market is so competitive, it’s prevalent to keep up to date with your skill set. Moving from one company to the next can sometimes be the only way to expose yourself to different types of technology as well as the latest developments in your field.

For those who are looking to job hop, it’s important to keep these points in mind:

  • Do present the creative, innovative parts of yourself that adapt easily to change particularly in fast-paced environments
  • Don’t be afraid to put your career first. Job hoppers benefit from being more challenged and more fulfilled, as well as earning more money than their counterparts
  • Do follow your passion so you can figure out what you really love, while expanding your skill set
  • Do endeavor to have a variety of different experiences, to improve your versatility
  • Do take advantage of a good opportunity. You have one life to live, so you may as well do what you really want to do

The good news is, in most ways, job hopping has nowhere near the negative connotations it used to. It’s becoming easier than ever for those wanting to job hop to be able to, and to find the career and position they really want. Not only do job hoppers benefit from changing jobs, but companies benefit from choosing to hire those who have attained that variety of experience.

About the Author: Ava Collins is an online marketing associate with Hicks Professional Group as well as the IT staffing company’s HR manager.

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