Job hopping has become an in-vogue term in recent years with countless HR professionals pondering the phenomenon. Overly simplistic views of this trend that only consider length of service paint young workers as disloyal and unreliable. To fully understand the issue, we must examine the factors that compel workers to change jobs, as well as the employer’s role in this process. Statistics on this trend are a minefield of contradictions, as are opinions on whether it is beneficial or detrimental to the job seeker. This leads to the question, is it a good career move?
What is Job Hopping?
Job hopping is the practice of regularly changing positions and companies within a short time frame. It has become synonymous with millennials and numerous publications have dubbed them ‘the job hopping generation.’
Why are Employees Job Hopping?
Employees job hop because they are unsatisfied in their role or feel a there is a lack of growth opportunities. This causes employees to continuously move between companies until they find an employer that is better able to help them meet their goals and objectives.
A widely believed myth is that it is done purely for an improved pay and benefits package. This certainly seems to be untrue, as many surveyed millennials have expressly stated that they would be willing to accept a lower level of pay for a preferable role.
Here are a few reasons why employees are constantly changing jobs aside from an increase in salary and benefits.
Work Life Balance
Fidelity Investments’ “Evaluate a Job Offer Study” reports that many millennials are more than happy to take a significant cut in pay in order to improve their quality of work life. Work life balance is becoming an important factor that outweighs salary and benefits. Although those factors can be important, job seekers are more inclined to apply for a company that respects time management between work and personal engagements.
Finding the Right Role
According to NPR, 95% of older Gen Zers and millennials think finding a career is their most important objective in their 20s. Therefore, it makes sense that young professionals may need to try several different roles before they discover to a career that better suits their goals, interests, and skills.
Early Career Development
There is also a consensus that many job hoppers do so to gain increased responsibility and improve their career development opportunities, according to USA Today.
The Barometer team researched what influences Glassdoor reviews and found that career development opportunities were one of the most important influences on employee job satisfaction. Employees who felt they had good career development opportunities were more likely to positively rate their job and recommend it to others. Workers who value career development will no doubt seek out opportunities elsewhere if they are unsatisfied with the potential for growth within their current role.
Conflicting Theories on Job Hopping
Opinions amongst HR and hiring professionals seem to be split on the question of whether modern workers change jobs more now than ever before. Statistics on the subject often seem to be cherry picked to prove chosen points and many major publications have offered varying opinions. The Pew Research Center has found that millennials are just as loyal to their employers as previous generation. Official statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics state that the median employee tenure for workers aged 25-34 was 2.8 years in 2018, the same as it was 2 years prior.
On the other hand, Gallup notes that 60% of millennials surveyed were open to new roles, compared to only 45% of non-millennials. A LinkedIn study further claims that ‘the number of companies people worked for in the five years after they graduated has nearly doubled’.
It is certain that this frequent changing of jobs is common in today’s job market, but what is still up for debate is how prevalent it really is, especially when comparing generational trends.
Adjusting Human Resources Strategies
Employees continuously changing jobs will undoubtedly impact employers in three key areas: recruitment, career development, and employee satisfaction. Good metrics can help you find out how to deal with that impact in each area.
Mitigating the effects of employees leaving will undoubtedly require an adjustment in recruitment strategy. Ensuring that the recruitment process is both cost effective and streamlined must be a priority for businesses worried about the impact it may have on their recruitment costs. Reducing the time as well as cost to hire should be a primary focus as a prolonged and unnecessarily expensive search for candidates can account for a large portion of a recruitment budget.
Highly skilled and ambitious employees who have earned increased responsibility and developed a wide variety of skills, may be invaluable to a company. Employers must be wary that they may be another stop along the road if they do not provide the necessary opportunities for progression. Adjusting the screening process may be necessary when assessing an applicant’s fit. Determining an applicant’s goals and ambitions early in the recruitment process goes a long way to identifying whether they would be a good match for both the role and the company. Once hired, affording them opportunities to grow and develop will ensure they see a future for themselves within the organization, rather than somewhere else.
High turnover may indicate that those hired were a poor fit or became disillusioned with their role and saw a better future for themselves elsewhere. Ensuring high job satisfaction should be of primary concern when it comes to retaining workers. Better understanding and improving these issues will eliminate the desire to look elsewhere for an improved situation. Regularly checking in with employees and making a concerted effort to implement their suggestions goes a long way to maintaining high levels of job satisfaction, and therefore high retention levels.
Keeping Employees Happy and On Board
Whether job hopping is a generational phenomenon, or whether millennials display the same loyalty as previous generations is still up for debate. What we can see is that young workers display a willingness to explore numerous job opportunities, often doing so to quickly advance their careers.
Employers must understand how important a role job satisfaction will play in the process and that young employees are less likely to seek to leave if they are happy and fulfilled in their position. Employers would therefore do well not to rest on their laurels and continue to provide their most valued and skilled employees with reasons to stay. Listening to their concerns, understanding their values, and enabling their growth are just some of the thing employers can do to keep their workforce happy and keep them in the fold.
At Barometer, we can help you determine not only what your employees’ don’t like about their job, but what may compel them to stay and think favorably of an employer. If you’d like to learn more, you can read about our unique approach to measuring employee engagement here.