In recent years the way employees and employers have viewed and treated work has changed dramatically. With the dawning of the Internet age suddenly territorial boundaries were removed and competition began occurring on a global scale. A major recession also helped shape the way that work is viewed, and a lot of young people entering the work force around this time and the subsequent years have radically different views about the role of work and what a proper life-work balance is than the generation of workers preceding them. Studies now show that the average American stays at a job for less than 5 years. This average is a far cry from the days of old where employees would work with one company for a significant portion of their lives. The term used to describe the people who move from job to job is job hopper.

This term, job hopper, used to be more of a negative term when loyalty and longevity were more highly valued in the workplace, but the term has become less and less stigmatized as a number of jobs get automated, the economy becomes more flexible, and companies become more and more open to contract, part-time, and outsourced work. Let’s explore the pros and cons of job hopping and what employers really think of this trend.

Pros of Hiring a Job Hopper

Individuals who have moved from job to job often have a diverse set of workplace learning experiences. Having worked for a variety of companies, they bring with them a myriad of processes and other company successes and failures, allowing you to learn from their past experiences. Job hoppers are often nimble and adaptable; they’ve been tested in new situations and environments over and over again. And they’re fresh, leaving past employers before ever evolving into the common rut. By switching positions often, they prove their desire to learn and grow.

Pros of Being One

One of the best parts about being a job hopper is that you open yourself up to learning more skills and having more experiences. Both of these assets can be very valuable when it comes to advancing a career and finding future employment. Moving and staying on your toes is a great way to keep focused and continue to do better for yourself without falling into the lull and complacency of routine. Kyle Kensing, online editor at CareerCast says, “Tenure is great, but not at the expense of building a more diverse skill set.” Hopping from job to job also hastens the process of career development. The more you open yourself up to new opportunities the more potential for growth and advancement you are going to have.

Job hopping also allows people to network more and gain more contacts, and since the majority of gigs are going to be found through networking, by job hopping employees are actually only increasing their future employability. However, probably the biggest reason people job hop is because of compensation. Let’s face it we could always earn more, and by job hopping you increase your chances of raising your wages. Most companies have a set range and timeline for the raises they will give you no matter if you are an okay worker or a great worker. There is a ceiling. Job hoppers on the other hand have the potential to see increases in their wages every time they take a new job.

Cons of Hiring a Job Hopper

The employer makes a major investment in hiring and training new talent. When employees leave, it often disrupts an organization’s flow and creates a gap in the existing team. This leaves others in the organization to pick up the slack left behind, taxing team members and creating a sense of instability in the organization.

Cons of Being One

The major con with job hopping is that employers might not trust that you will stay. It costs money and time to bring a new employee on board and get them up to speed, and if an employer thinks that you will be out in a year or less they probably won’t want to waste their time or money bringing you on just to have you jump ship at the next lucrative offer.

Another con of job hopping is that while you get to build up a resume full of skills and experiences, you may not get to develop the track record. If you are constantly on the move it is very hard for you to accomplish anything significant or show consistent results.

Job hopping can also make it difficult to establish and maintain lasting relationships with your co-workers and managers. It is great to be able to meet a lot of people, but if you can’t develop relationships with them then you are not really building a quality network on which you can rely.

Finally, job hopping regularly can be frustrating for the job hoppers themselves. They’re regularly the new guy or gal in the office and constantly learning how to do things a new way. People like routine because it is comfortable. Constantly looking for the next job and changing jobs regularly can be very tiring and emotionally draining.

How Employers View Job Hopping

Depending on the industry and the company, job hopping may be looked upon more or less favorably, especially if a prospective employee is leaving a job every year or less. Job hopping has certainly lost its stigma from days of the past, but a lot of employers still tend to view this action with some negativity. To most employers, workers who decide to leave represent a lost investment to them. As pervasively stated, it takes a lot of time and effort to find the right people for a company and when they do find the right people they don’t want them to just pass on through. However, some companies do appreciate the drive of job hoppers to build their careers and the amount of expertise that they can bring to the table.

Job hopping is a growing trend. One that needs to be accounted for by employees just as much as employers. The current trends of our economy lend itself to job hopping, but as we settle into the 21st century and further automation, job hopping and greater use of contract employees will continue to evolve.

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