Workers who forego the traditional career-ladder climb, and instead jump from role to role
Updated: Oct 19, 2022
Workers who forego the traditional career-ladder climb, and instead jump from role to role, have often been stigmatised.
However, these stereotypes may be outdated. In a tight labor market and an environment, many of those who job hop are reaping the rewards, gaining sizable pay rises and greatly accelerating their career progression. But, is this approach to employment sustainable or can it come back to haunt?
Recently, job hopping has flourished, with younger workers driving much of this movement.
In a February 2022 LinkedIn study of more than 20,000 US workers, 25% of Gen Zers and 23% of millennials said they hoped or planned to leave their current employers within the next six months.
This is because there has also been a generational shift in attitudes towards work, a re-interpretation of what a career is for people. Today, people are autonomous – they want to take control of their careers.
Can it be useful?
In many cases, when workers job hop, they effectively take bigger strides down their career path.
They collect skills, abilities and knowledge they can use in a future role having a greater wealth of experience to draw from, leading to a wider variety of jobs and companies available to them.
Job hopping can be a faster and easier way to progress to the next level in a career and a salary increase.
In the UK, Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows workers who change jobs within a year of beginning a role have consistently higher hourly wage growth over those who stay.
However, job hopping often comes with a stigma attached – one that’s enshrined by older and more senior hiring managers.
The stigma may also come from a generational divide: those who have spent decades at a company, and reached the top of the career ladder, are often its key decision makers.
The constant churn of leaving a job and beginning a new one can also form a potentially problematic behavioural pattern; employees facing problems at work can be tempted to quit rather than grind it out, impacting their long-term career prospects.
Job hoppers can find themselves stuck in a loop of quitting and starting over, forever in a transitory state between new and old roles.
So, what to do?
Much of it comes down to making the right move at the right time.