29 Nov 2018

Job hopping...

In the olden days....a job was for life.   Things have changed.  Now, I actually think that employers are a bit suspicious if someone has spent a while in their current role.  They worry about lack of ambition or that the employee just wants an easy life.  The other extreme provides just as much suspicion.  Individuals who move roles after less than 12 months cause some concern and those who do it repeatedly cause quite a lot of concern.  I think you can explain staying in a role for a long time quite easily - providing you can demonstrate regular promotion and increased responsibilities, why would you leave an organisation who are giving you opportunities to grow and develop?  But it's harder to justify moving around and becoming a bit of a Job Hopper, particularly early in your career.

I regularly work with individuals who are under 30 years old.  Always very satisfying to help people in the early stages of their career and to see them develop.  Increasingly though, I'm advising them to sit tight for a while with their current employers.  Millenials get a bad rap from a lot of areas and it seems that the label of Job Hopper is yet another of them!  Often deservedly so.  A lot of Graduates arrive in the commercial world and find that starting salaries are £16-18k.  That's not what they thought was going to happen.  However, at that level, it's when you develop skills quickly and individuals are very motivated to keep progressing quickly and to earn more money.   Often too, a Graduate will be 'grateful' initially to get on the career ladder but then within 12 months have confidence that they are now 'more employable' - they are...and will then start seeking out the next opportunity.   I'm not suggesting that people need to spend 5 years in each role.  Rather that a minimum of 18 months in a position is optimal with 2 years being entirely justifiable in seeking a new position (in the eyes of employers).

A note to employers too.  Most employers know that it is easier to retain staff than to hire new ones.  So giving financial incentives at regular intervals for juniors is a good way to improve retention.   Juniors do talk to each other about salaries and the job market (much more than senior staff) and once one moves on, it tends to encourage others to do the same.  Offering a small increase in salary at 6 months and 12 months with another review at 24 months, that can make all the difference.  Obviously it's not all about the money...individuals want responsibility and improved skills.  But I'd say it's 90% about the money for junior staff.

If you've got less than 12 months experience in a role and you are thinking about moving on.  And your key reason is financial....it's always worth having a chat with your boss.  I'm sure that most business owners would prefer to give you a little bit more rather than spending the budget on finding another hire.   If you've only hopped once in your career, that's fine, it's explainable.  However, if you start to hop a bit too frequently, you are going to start losing out to other individuals who have showed staying power and therefore proved they can build longer lasting relationships with clients and colleagues.  Employers don't trust that in 12 months or less that you will have had time to demonstrate true success in a role and therefore someone that they want to invest in.  Put bluntly, they don't want to spend the money on hiring you if you're going to shoot off after 10 months.   When I'm writing job advertisements, one of the key phrases I use very often is 'a good track record' - that's recruiter speak for spending a good amount of time in each role.  It's very visible on a CV and you probably won't get the chance to justify your reasons in an interview - they'll shortlist others who look like safer bets.

I'm not trying to persuade you to sit tight until a clock presents itself but as in all things, balance is best.  Stay in touch though....