When Does Job Hopping Make Sense?

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job hopping millennials

Job hopping is something that – according to conventional wisdom – should be avoided at all costs. After all, too much job switching can look bad on your CV. Potential employers could also get the wrong impression that you are not good at your job, get bored easily or are a downright quitter.

But is that really the case now?

The truth is, times have changed. With the rise of freelancing and contract work, shorter work stints are becoming increasingly common. Experts also point to changing mind sets amongst employers. Coupled with the fast pace of change in modern business, the landscape is altogether more fluid than before.

Speaking at a 2017 May Day rally event, National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) secretary-general Chan Chun Sing noted that our careers today may look more like a “series of different jobs, where career transitions become part of the norm“.

Job Hopping Is More Common Amongst Millennials

Compared to their parents’ generation, millennials are much more willing to change jobs every few years, instead of committing to one company for the whole of their working life.

A study by Future Workplace suggests that most younger workers expect to change their jobs 15 to 20 times throughout their entire career. Millennial workers also expect to learn, develop, and progress as they move from one job to another.

According to a separate study by LinkedIn, millennials jump jobs an average of four times in their first decade out of university, almost double that of the previous generation.

Children Of Their Time

There are many possible reasons for this phenomenon, including changing fortunes in the economy and across industries.

Having come of age amidst an economically tumultuous era – marked by the global financial crisis – younger workers know that they could be out of a job at any moment due to circumstances beyond their control.

Consequently, many see themselves as free agents, and understand the importance of strategic career planning and upgrading their knowledge, skills, experience and connections.

Switching Around To Get Where You Want To Be

Instead of meandering aimlessly from one job to another, ambitious millennial workers are feeling their way forward in their careers, making strategic moves to get them to the next phase.

If your career switches demonstrate a clear and upwards career trend of progression, this can go a long way towards allaying the concerns of potential employers with regards to your worth as a team member.

So with all that said and done, when does job hopping actually make sense? Let’s take a look at some possible reasons for doing so.

1) Self-Discovery

One of the best things about just starting out in your career is the ability to explore different options with less risk. After all, you’re not tied down with financial responsibilities, such as supporting a family or paying a mortgage.

So if you haven’t found meaningful work yet, job hopping can provide you with opportunities to learn more about yourself, including what type of work you like and what you are good at.

After a series of jobs, even if you’re still unable to figure out your true calling, you would have at least accumulated a considerable amount of skills, experience and connections that are both transferable and beneficial for your future career.

2) Stalled Development

If you’re stuck in jobs that do not offer much prospects for professional development or career progress, you might want to consider seeking greener pastures. This is especially since your early years in the workforce should provide a strong foundation for your future career.

All in all, if you’re an ambitious professional who has your mind set on a career path, don’t be afraid to trade up should a better position come along.

3) Accelerating Career Progression

Not all companies can get you to where you want to be in your career as fast as you would like. A recent Jobstreet survey found that it takes an average of four years for workers in Singapore to get a promotion. This is nearly a year longer than other companies in the region!

The truth is that promotion does come a lot faster when switching from one job to another. In fact, many people get to the next stage of their career trajectory by joining another organisation.

That said – even though an improved job title can have an impact on perception, it shouldn’t be the only reason for you to switch jobs. Rather, the new title should give you access to a new area of your interest – one that you wish to develop and grow.

4) Skills Development

One of the keys to a successful and fulfilling career lies in the opportunity to learn something new everyday. The more skills you can master, the more employable you are in the eyes of future employers.

So if you think that in order to achieve your next career target, you need to hone new skills— ones that the current job can’t give you— go ahead and take the leap with a new role.

5) Staying Ahead of Industry Cycles

Many industries around the world go through cycles of boom and bust. Take the example of the offshore and marine sector in Singapore, which has seen significant job losses as a result of the global slump in oil prices.

In such situations, switching to a new industry – such as how workers from offshore and marine are finding new jobs in aerospace and in transport – might be a wise move. In such cases, new skills and knowledge would be required, and the onus is on workers to stay ahead of the curve.

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