4 Reasons Millennials Are Embracing the Job Hopper Label

Job hopperRecently, one of my well respected LinkedIn connections, Bob McIntosh wrote an article, “Should You Stay or Should You Go,” in which he advised Millennials to stay put in order to build their career. In response, I’d like to offer an alternative opinion: that they should go. Be a job hopper!

As Millennials have grown to encompass over 25% of our current workforce, there’s been a lot of hand-wringing about how long they’ll stay in their current position.

According to Future Workplace’s recent study entitled “Multiple Generations at Work,” approximately 91% of Millennials responded that they expected to stay at their jobs for less than 3 years. Payscale estimates the average Millennial tenure is only at 2 years. In comparison to a Baby Boomer’s average of 7 years, this has left employers wondering how to deal with rising employee turnover rates.

However, what many of these articles are lacking is a dose of some of the reality that Millennials face in the working world today.

Gone are the days in which employees worked for one company for 40 years. Today’s work environment is more fluid, wherein people are taking more control over their preferred method of earning a living. Increasingly, people are turning to alternatives such as teleworking, contingent work, contracting or freelancing to satisfy their desire for autonomy.

With so many differing attitudes towards work, it seems only natural that employees still operating under a traditional working arrangement would feel empowered to gain some autonomy for themselves. Millennials have become to represent a generation of workers seeking to use this autonomy to advance their careers. They aren’t afraid to change jobs often. They aren’t afraid to be called a “job hopper.”

Baby Boomers have long shied away from this behaviors, preferring instead to stay put lest they carry a scarlet JH on their resume that may forever keep them from the right opportunity.

However, in our evolving gig economy, the perception of a job hopper as lesser employees has changed significantly. With this change, Millennials are poised to reap the benefits. Today, hopping jobs every year or two is no longer going to freeze you out of the job market. Today, it can provide a host of benefits, including these:

Higher Salaries

Data shows that people who stay at jobs longer than 2 years earn less than they would in their current position. Many great employers reward their employees with a 3% raise every year when things are going well for the organization.

Assuming the employer is having a great year every year, your salary will still be less than that of the average 15% raise obtained when making a career move.

In the old days, employees used to be trained how to do their jobs. Today, employers are willing to pay for skills they don’t currently possess. Savvy Millennials with robust skill sets have an opportunity to move up the corporate ladder, making more money elsewhere if they’re willing to take a calculated risk and take on more responsibility.

New Marketable Skills

When employees change jobs, one of their strongest benefits is the adoption of new skills, exposure to new ways of doing things, and fresh ideas.

A move may be lateral in terms of salary and title, but the benefits of this exposure may far outweigh salary and title in the long run. This may include exposure to new software programs, new sales techniques, document generation, and more.

An engineer I know held 4 jobs last year, soaking up new skills like a sponge. In 2016, he’s landed a job that pays 30% more and requires him to work 20% less hours, allowing him the freedom to work on new projects to further refine his skills on his own time. Had he stayed at his original position, he would not have had this kind of exposure; he would have had another five years until he might have been able to switch teams to gain more responsibility.

His willingness to grow – to job hop – enabled his current success.

Perks and Benefits

In order to remain competitive, many employers are offering a variety of perks. This isn’t always in the form of a salary that’s 15% higher than an employee’s existing wage. But when you add up the value of the perk or benefit, it may actually be higher.

Changing positions often offers Millennials opportunities they never would have had at their previous position, including free food, better health benefits, 401K matching, equity, teleworking opportunities, travel, and more. When weighed against current perks and benefits, these can become incredibly attractive – and worth the migration.

Opportunities for Advancement

Millennials are often characterized by a desire to take charge of their career. This includes a career path, opportunities to learn and grow, and to ultimately take on more responsibility.

By changing employers as often as we “change our socks,” employees can find the advancement opportunity they crave. This can be quite attractive when Millennials are seeking to shed a micromanager of a boss for the freedom to weigh in on strategy and high level decision making associated with running a one-person department or contributing to a team integral to the company’s mission and vision.

Many Millennials are beginning to realize just how valuable their skill sets are in today’s workplace. They see how attractive they are to employers struggling to fill high profile positions. They identify opportunities for more autonomy, better work culture, and increased responsibility.

Should we fault a savvy Millennial for recognizing the right moment to make a move?

I say go, job hopper… and enjoy your new career.


Catherine-hessAbout the Author: Catherine Hess is a Marketing Manager in the Talent Acquisition space.  She frequently contributes thought leadership articles to sites like Glassdoor, Career Builder, LinkedIn, Recruiter.com, Recruiting Blogs, and more. To catch up with more of Catherine’s writing, follow her on LinkedIn here.

This entry was posted in Career Advice and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.