Not long ago, the conventional wisdom offered to working people was to stay at their job for as long as possible. The reasoning was that long-term loyalty would be rewarded with raises, pensions, and promotions and that every time someone changes jobs in their career, it suggests an employee unwilling or unable to do so.
Times have changed. Wage Stagnation is rampant, with a recent poll from Monster showing that 18% of respondents have never received a raise, and over 26% hadn't got one in over a year. Pensions are largely a thing of the past, have largely been replaced by the transferable 401k, or simply eliminated altogether. The retirement crisis faced by older workers has blocked the efforts of younger workers to be promoted. All this has contributed to an environment in which statistically, the best way to get a raise is usually not loyalty at all, but job hopping.
What is Job Hopping?
Simply put, job hopping means leaving your current job for one at another company. The concept is usually used to emphasize that switching companies is the means for moving forward, as opposed to loyalty to the company one is already working for. It's also more likely to be used to refer to such a move if it's performed frequently – in this sense, moving every two years or less is usually what is considered job hopping.
Is Job Hopping Bad?
That's up to you to decide. In the past, job hopping was seen as a mark of a disloyal (or at least opportunistic) employee, or perhaps one who lacked competence and needs to sever ties frequently.
Today, it's a completely normal front-line strategy for advancing one's career, and the stigma around it has largely vanished. Employers understand this. In 2017, a survey from Edology showed that 63% of employers believed that changing jobs could be good for your career, and 53% saying they believe it can help with one's personal development. 82% said they'd hire someone who had changed jobs within the last six months, and over half (51%) indicated that they viewed job hoppers in a positive light, seeing them as motivated individuals who know what they want. And economists consider the prevalence of job hopping to be an indicator of a strong economy. The negative stigma around job hopping is largely dead or dying.
That said, employers would prefer that their workers stay put, (whether or not they incentivize it properly) so they're likely to paint it in a negative light to their own employees – even if they love hiring job hoppers headed their way.
Who's Doing it?
Workers of all kinds. But job hopping is more common among those who are younger. PeoplePath provides us with the following generational breakdown in 2021:
What are the Benefits of Job Hopping?
Job Hopping may be one of the most effective ways to advance one's pay and career in the current job market.
According to Forbes, a 2019 study by ADP indicated that those who stayed put in their jobs were receiving an average of 4% increase in pay, while those who switched received an average of 5.3%. In some industries, this number was much higher, such as the information industry, in which job hoppers experienced a 9.7% annual growth in wages.
That was before the pandemic. Today, those numbers are even higher. According to a 2022 survey by The Conference Board, almost a third of employees who hopped jobs during the pandemic is getting paid over 30% more at their new jobs. Yet with the US experiencing record highs in inflation, 62% of those surveyed still worried that this may not even be enough. In any case, in the current economic environment, small increases may actually amount to decreases in buying power.
Beyond a simple focus on finances, job hopper respondents had this to say about what they had to gain by making the leap:
Potentially. Changing jobs is always a shift, requiring one to put energy into finding their way around new responsibilities, relationships, and industries.
If the job switch involves relocation, it can be even more of a stretch. The financial implications can be significant, costing as much as $10k – and that says nothing of the personal and emotional costs in one's personal life of making such a move. On the other hand, such changes may be welcome, and a move can offer the opportunity to alter living arrangements or lifestyle, and changes to one's locale or mortgage structure could provide financial advantages when it comes to monthly bills.
Any of these shifts could be positive or negative depending on one's situation. How do they sound to you?
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