Is Job-Hopping Another New Normal?

Posted on Monday, October 5th, 2020 by


The only thing that is certain in a post-Covid world, is that nothing is certain anymore, and there is no such thing as ‘normal’, be it new or otherwise. Everyone is still trying to guess what will happen next and how they might be able to fit in with that.


In the ‘old days’ most people had a job for life and moving roles mid-career was an exception. In the last decade or so, everything started changing at breakneck speed and we all struggled to keep up. And then, just when we thought we had embraced all the changes and began enjoying the benefits of flexible working, freelancing, new technology-led communication and entirely new industries to work in, a virus appeared that changed our world forever.


What does seem to be likely, is that in the world of work, going back to how it was is not an option. One of those changes, inspired by the latest generation to arrive on the job market is that job-hopping will no longer be frowned upon as in the past, and may even be embraced. A career path is no longer a linear process. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, a US based research group, found that a worker stays in a job for the median number of 4.2 years, but a 2018 report by the same group found that millennials, between the ages of 18 and 20, change an average of “7.2” jobs in the same period.


HR departments and recruiters have in the past looked on jobseekers who have had multiple short-term jobs negatively and even 43% of employers said they wouldn’t hire a job-hopper. But perhaps now is the time to stand back and see that there can be many advantages to both employer and employee in a short-term hire.


Advantages for a job-hopper:


  • It can equip employees with a variety of skills they might not get by staying in one place
  • Working in different companies means experiencing a variety of cultures and management styles. A unique insight into what suits an individual most.
  • According to Forbes, in a healthy economic market, a job-hopper might enjoy a pay rise of between eight and ten per cent. For some, even 20 per cent is achievable. More than can be achieved by staying in the same role.
  • An opportunity to build up a wide network of contacts who could turn out to be potential employers or business partners.
  • Millennials and Gen Z employees prioritise environmental and social issues in the workplace, and are far more prepared to walk away from a role that doesn’t meet their ethical standards, possibly making companies more aware of how important these priorities are.


Advantages of employing a job-hopper:


  • Job-hopping demonstrates an ability to be flexible in a wide range of environments, which is a useful to skill to have on any team.
  • They are not afraid of change and are prepared to take risks, which can be very attractive qualities in today’s uncertain climate.
  • Sometimes a role doesn’t require longevity. Bringing someone in to complete a project who will leave afterwards can be mutually beneficial.
  • Bringing in a fresh perspective and a new creative energy to a stagnant workplace, can benefit everyone.
  • A new employee won’t be complacent and is likely to question the ethos of ‘we’ve always done it this way’, keeping an employer on their toes and more able to survive the next wave of changes.


Employee Disadvantages:


  • Employee loyalty is still highly valued, often at the expense of other qualities so you may be turned down for a role on that basis alone, but this can be rectified by being clear and up-front with your motives.
  • Colleagues who have worked for a company for longer might feel resentment that they will have to pick up an extra workload and spend a disproportionate time on getting the new staff member up to speed.


Employer Disadvantages:


The disadvantages of changing roles frequently are more familiar to many, but still worth bearing in mind because they can be avoided.


  • Hiring and training new staff is an expensive and time-consuming business and the ROI on a job-hopper may not appeal.
  • Not displaying a desire to contribute to an organisations’ long-term success may be seen as a weakness
  • There is a common suspicion, that regular job moves may be due to poor past performance rather than more positive reasons.
  • If a company thinks they are merely a steppingstone on the career path of an ambitious young employee, they may feel resentful and be more reluctant to take them on.
  • Some smaller companies may not easily be able to recover from investing in a new employee if they don’t stay long enough to recoup the investment.


How to prevent it being a disadvantage for both sides:


  • As an applicant, be the first to explain your motives. You have nothing to hide, and having a good, clear reason for your next move can prevent any doubt from rising in the recruiter’s mind.
  • Be ready to share the positive results with your prospective employer, and the impact you may have had on the team that you have previously worked with.
  • Sometimes it isn’t clear to an employer whether an applicant is job-hopping or just had contracted, seasonal or temporary jobs while the market is uncertain. Make it clear to avoid unnecessary rejections.


Top tips before job-hopping:


  • Do your research thoroughly before jumping. Make sure that you know exactly what you’re looking for in your next role and assess whether now is definitely the right time for you to start working towards that.
  • Talk to your managers and tell them that you’re looking for a change. Understanding the direction that you would like to take your career in and how that can happen might change your perspective on an imminent move. Either that or confirming that you were right to move on in the first place.


In today’s uncertain job market, focussing on job retention is no longer what matters most, it’s engagement. It is quite possible to create workplaces that encourage people to be their best whether they are long- or short-term workers. An agile workforce creates an agile company that is more likely to survive whatever is going to come our way next. And no one knows what that will be.


At Chapple we specialize in sourcing candidates in external and internal communications, employee engagement, change, HR and business transformation roles.

Contact us on 020 7734 8209 for more information about how we can help you find your next role or indeed find the right people for your business.