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Why job-hoppers make great employees

December 2018

Recruiters are often wary of graduates who job-hop but the experience gained from working in a range of roles can make for a highly valuable employee, and therefore such candidates should not be automatically dismissed

Millennial job-hoppers

Generally speaking, the act of job-hopping tends to be associated with graduates. Rather than entering the workforce with a job-for-life, they attempt to curb boredom and feed their insatiable impatience by changing careers whenever they feel like it.

Except they don't.

According to the ISE 2018 Development Survey1

  • 74% of graduates remained in the same job for at least three years
  • 66% of graduates remained in the same job for five years
  • Retention rates rose in 2017 to 74% from 72% in 2016.

Most graduates are not job-hoppers.

When they are, however, recruiters are often wary. If an individual has changed jobs multiple times in a short space of time, a common assumption is that they are unreliable, uncommitted, impatient and/or difficult to satisfy.

Though this may be true for some graduate job-hoppers, it is not true of all.

Reasons for job-hopping

Motivations behind job-hopping differ from person to person. Some common reasons include:

  • being 'poached' by another company
  • feeling that their current job has no opportunities for progression or development
  • being made redundant
  • being unsure what career they want
  • wanting to gain diverse experiences
  • being unable to hold down a job
  • getting bored easily
  • permanent or long-term work being rarely offered in their industry.

Leaving a job after a short period of time is not always a conscious decision. Those in a struggling sector with many redundancies, or in industries such as IT or design where freelance and short contract work is common, are likely to have fuller career histories than others.

Where it is a deliberate decision, this is not always indicative of a troublesome or ungrateful employee.

Job-hopping can provide candidates with a wealth of positive attributes.

Committed

Changing jobs to seek out new opportunities and experiences shows ambition and initiative. These individuals do not lack commitment to their employers so much as they evidence unrelenting commitment to their career aspirations. They are willing to act proactively in order to achieve them, embracing change and challenges along the way.

Well-connected

Candidates who have worked in multiple jobs often have wider networks than those who have limited career histories.

Having only recently entered the labour market, graduates are not expected to have large networks of industry contacts. Consequently, individuals that do due to job-hopping are a valuable rarity. They might also be able to offer inside knowledge of your competitors.

Highly skilled

Learning the ropes at a new job isn't easy. Job-hoppers learn to pick up new skills and adapt to new ways of doing things quickly. They develop the ability to integrate into new teams seamlessly and operate well under a range of management techniques.

What's more, the challenge of proving yourself in new environments, to new teams and managers, provides opportunities and incentives for job-hoppers to develop their skills further than those who remain in one job for a prolonged period of time.

This is particularly true of those who change jobs because they feel that their current role offers little opportunity for progression or development. Their thirst for knowledge and improvement are valuable assets.

Money-saving

Contrary to popular belief, job-hoppers might actually save your company money. A consequence of having had a range of experiences, being able to grasp new skills easily and having had opportunities to develop existing skills more-so than non-hoppers, is that they require less training.

Employers have often traditionally been wary of job-hoppers. However, changing jobs frequently isn't necessarily an indication that an individual possesses undesirable qualities.

Recruiters shouldn't immediately discard applications from graduates who have fuller career histories than might be expected. Doing so could mean missing out on some of the most skilled, driven, and connected applicants the graduate cohort has to offer.

Notes

  1. ISE 2018 Development Survey, ISE, 2018.

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