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Talent Talk: Is Job Hopping Good or Bad?

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Here’s one perspective: Over a 35-year career, employees who change jobs every few years will earn, on average, 50% more than similarly skilled peers who stayed put.

Whether job hopping is good or bad is a difficult question to answer on a personal level. I am a baby boomer and grew up in a professional world where the correct answer was a definitive bad. But I have seen a lot change over the past few decades, and out of intellectual integrity I have to say there is a lot of evidence that you should job hop, especially if compensation is a big consideration.

In this two-part discussion, we will look at the case to be made for each approach. That way, each person can decide what is best for them, their careers, and families.

Multiple studies have demonstrated that employees who change jobs more frequently are better compensated than peers who stay with the same company for a longer period. The anecdotal evidence from HR professionals, hiring managers, and recruiters is that, while a good employee can expect an annual increase of 3 to 5%, people who change jobs usually will get somewhere in the 10 to 15% range.

A study conducted by payroll provider ADP showed those who made a job switch earned, on average, a 5.3% increase in pay. Those who stayed put earned, on average, a 4.0% increase. That small differential may not seem like much, but like the “magic” of compounding in the investment world, over a 35-year career that could mean a 50% difference for two similar employees.

In addition to the monetary benefit, the stigma that was associated with being a job hopper is disappearing. Patty McCord, former chief talent officer for Netflix, says that job hopping is a good thing and that your people should plan to change jobs every three to four years.

There is a growing school of thought that it is better for the company to have new talent cycling in every few years to keep fresh new ideas coming and to avoid having a workforce that only knows one way of doing things. Am I totally buying into this? Check back next week when we look at some other perspectives.

 

About the author

Paul Sturgeon is CEO of KLA Industries, a national search firm specializing in plastics, packaging, and polymer technology. If you have a topic you would like to see discussed, a company that is growing, or other ideas for this blog, e-mail Sturgeon at paul@klaindustries.com.

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