The Case for Job Hopping: 4 Reasons to Go, 1 Reason to Pause

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Convinced that you should remain loyal to a job, even if you absolutely loathe the thought of being there each day? Maybe a better opportunity is at your fingertips, but you fear the long-term consequences of making the move.

It may be time to adjust your mindset: The days of hiring managers frowning upon the resumes of those with cameos in the workplace are coming to an end in a number of industries.

A press release about a recent survey by CareerBuilder said, “More than half (55 percent) of employers surveyed said they have hired a job-hopper and nearly one-third (32 percent) of all employers said they have come to expect workers to job hop.”

According to the survey, the industries where job hopping is most common are:

  • Information technology — 42 percent of employers expect employees to job hop.
  • Leisure and hospitality — 37 percent.
  • Transportation — 37 percent.
  • Retail — 36 percent.
  • Manufacturing — 32 percent.

However, job hopping is something that’s considered more acceptable from younger employees. CareerBuilder said:

While employers may be more accepting of job-hoppers, their expectations still tend to vary based on the candidate’s age. Forty-one percent of employers said that job hopping becomes less acceptable when a worker reaches his/her early to mid-30s (ages 30 or 35). Twenty-eight percent find job hopping less acceptable after the age of 40.

With all of this in mind, here are some arguments to strengthen the case for job hopping:

1. Longevity = lower pay

It appears that loyalty is overrated, especially if you want to increase your income.

Cameron Keng, a contributor to Forbes, says the average raise this year will be 3 percent, which he said really amounts to less than 1 percent after inflation is factored in. But those who change jobs will end up getting a much more substantial bump in income. He adds:

In 2014, the average employee is going to earn less than a 1 percent raise and there is very little that we can do to change management’s decision. But, we can decide whether we want to stay at a company that is going to give us a raise for less than 1 percent. The average raise an employee receives for leaving is between a 10 percent to 20 percent increase in salary. Obviously, there are extreme cases where people receive upward of 50 percent, but this depends on each person’s individual circumstances and industries.

So, what incentive do you have to stay if money is your motive? My point exactly.

If you accept the recession as a reason to settle and take the loyalty route, you may miss opportunities that are far more lucrative.

2. The quest for clarity

What do you want to do with your life? If you have yet to answer that question, sticking around at a job that you hate probably isn’t the wisest thing to do. In fact, loyalty has the potential to hinder the process of finding your calling, which could lead to bigger issues, like depression, later on.

3. Increased demand for talent

More than ever, companies are scouring through the piles of eligible candidates for those with the most impressive skill sets that can boost their bottom lines. They’re willing to spend money to get them on board.

Says Katie Simon on LearnVest:

[M]any companies are starving for skilled workers — and may pay as much as a 25 percent salary increase for a 10 percent increase in employee productivity. The very businesses that have lowered the raise norm have set up their high performers to hop jobs for better pay.

4. Versatility

Adaptability is a good thing. Some recruiters value it because it means you’re willing to conform and use your array of knowledge and experience to advance their organization. Versatility also means you are able to adjust to a variety of personalities and company cultures without sacrificing performance.

Just be sure you’re prepared to handle the challenges that come with new terrain.


While there are pluses to job hopping, there are drawbacks, too.

The last thing you want is management fearing that you’ll become disengaged at some point and jump ship like you’ve done at your last few jobs. Too many short jobs on your resume could make some managers unwilling to hire you.

The CareerBuilder survey found that “43 percent of employers won’t consider a candidate who’s had short tenures with several employers.”

And their worry isn’t baseless. Contributor Jeanne Meister wrote at Forbes:

Talent acquisition managers and heads of human resources make a valid case for their wariness of resumes filled with one- to two-year stints. They question such applicants’ motivation, skill level, engagement on the job and ability to get along with other colleagues.

These hiring managers worry they’ll become the next victims of these applicants’ hit-and-run job holding. For companies, losing an employee after a year means wasting precious time and resources on training and development, only to lose the employee before that investment pays off. Plus, many recruiters may assume the employee didn’t have time to learn much at a one-year job.

The decision to job hop ultimately depends on your industry and personal preferences. If you are struggling to make ends meet or saddled with debt, it may be in your best interest to go for a more lucrative opportunity. Keep in mind that it’s generally acceptable when you’re young and new to the working world.

On the other hand, if you can ride the wave, then relax and get those years in so you can establish a track record as a stable and serious employee.

This article was originally published on as 'The Case for Job Hopping: 4 Reasons to Go, 1 Reason to Pause'.

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