Why Not Job Hopping Is Hurting Your Career

As seen on Forbes.

Most people think that job hopping, or the practice of changing jobs typically within a year or so, will hurt your career. Some recruiters may even say that job hopping makes you look disloyal, unstable, and difficult to work with.

As a former recruiter, I can say this is mostly false, but only if you’re strategic about jumping ship. Of course, you shouldn’t always jump from one job to another every three months, as this can cause red flags. However, if you’re strategic about your job changes and make them for valid reasons, it can enhance your career rather than hinder it. Here are three reasons why job hopping is good for your career.

You’re Leaving Money On The Table

Before the internet, globalization, and remote working became a thing, it made sense to stay with an employer for as long as you can. Once you had a stable job with what you felt was competitive pay, switching jobs was a risk that most people wanted to avoid. Discussing pay was considered taboo in many workplaces, so it was difficult to gauge whether you were being paid fairly.

In such an environment, it’s understandable why job security was often prioritized over advancement. Loyalty to a single company was highly valued, and many people expected to spend their entire careers with one company, hoping to move up the corporate ladder.

These days, though, not so much. Technological advancements have made connecting with potential employers easier, as well as researching job opportunities and understanding industry salary standards. Studies have shown that you can earn more in a shorter time by job hopping rather than staying with a single company.

According to ADP’s September 2023 data, staying at your current employer in high-growth industries may earn you an average of 5.9% annual raise. But jumping to another may earn you significantly more at 9% or even more, depending on the opportunity. Another article from Forbes states that “employees who stay in companies longer than two years get paid 50% less.” While that may seem extreme, we have had clients we have worked with that have had 30% – 100% increase in salary with just one new job offer! So yes, it can happen!

You’re Missing Out On New Learnings

It’s pretty common to see people feel stuck in their current job because they feel like their careers are no longer progressing or they’re not learning anything new. This rings true for people who’ve been doing the same job and working with the same manager for years. 

While job security is indeed a prized commodity, especially during times of economic instability, staying at a job for too long can prevent you from learning new skills and gaining new knowledge that may make you a better practitioner of your field. 

Transitioning to a different company or industry can also offer fresh perspectives. The exposure to diverse projects and client demands can push you to think outside your usual design comfort zone, forcing you to innovate and be creative with your work.

Again, I’m not saying job hopping is the only solution. If you’re feeling stuck in your current job, it’s a good idea to talk to your manager and ask for new projects, seek opportunities for skill development, or explore other ways to make your current role more fulfilling.

In many situations, effective communication with your current employer can lead to meaningful changes in your job that align better with your career goals. But if you’ve already done that and still daydreaming on your desk frequently, it may be time to look for another job that will challenge and help you learn new things.

It Opens You Up To New Opportunities

Have you seen The Intern (2015), starring Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro? If not, you should because it’s an entertaining movie and shows how times have changed. De Niro plays Ben Whittaker, a 70-year-old retired executive who worked for a phonebook company for almost 40 years. Finding retirement to be too boring, he applies for the role of a senior intern and gets assigned to Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway), the young CEO of an e-commerce company. 

Spoiler alert: Although it ends happily with Ben excelling in his new job and picking up new skills, I don’t want you to end up like him! It’s a movie after all and don’t expect the same results if you follow his career roadmap. Instead, I would encourage you to experiment more with your career and learn new skills before it’s too late.

With how fast technology is advancing, the skills you have today may no longer be in demand in a few years, especially with AI-powered tools becoming more common in the workplace. And the best way to get ahead of that is to put yourself out there now and find new opportunities to acquire different skills.

Ben did that when he applied for Jules’s company. Hopefully, you won’t wait 40 years before doing it yourself. Happy job hunting!

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