You may well have grown up with the traditional advice that moving from one job to the next within a short space of time – or ‘job hopping’ – is bad news for your CV, and makes you look like an unstable and unpredictable hire. However, just like career breaks, job hopping is much more commonplace than you might imagine.
In fact, according to a recent survey, millennials and gen Zers now spend a significantly shorter amount of time in their jobs than previous generations. Whereas now the average length of time spent in a job is 2 years 3 months, for the baby boomer generation, average job tenure was more like 8 years! With this change in behaviour has come a change in perception – hiring managers and recruiters now understand that candidates will move positions more frequently in order to attain better pay and benefits, as well as to find positions that align with life changes.
What counts as job hopping?
The term itself has no strict definition, and will therefore change depending on who you ask. However, most people consider it to mean only staying in positions for a relatively short period (for example, less than one year) and doing so three or four times in a row.
For some, job hopping is inconvenient but necessary. For example, your position may have been made redundant due to Covid, you may have switched your career focus, or you may simply have been unlucky and found yourself in positions that weren’t a good fit for you.
Why can job hopping be a bad thing?
No employer expects you to stay with the same company for years and years, and in fact, such a working pattern might even be interpreted by some as a lack of tenacity or ambition. However, if you have a sustained pattern of switching jobs after a few months and keep this up for a significant period of time, there is a possibility it could have negative consequences.
An employer might see this as a signal that you’ll also leave your new position fairly quickly, or that you lack commitment and get bored easily. It’s also important to carefully examine your own reasons for job hopping – maybe you get so excited about the prospect of a better title, larger salary and new set of challenges that you don’t stop to think whether or not the position is right for you.
If this is a position you frequently find yourself in, it might be time to take stock and think about how you can achieve career happiness through a more conventional route before it becomes an issue.