Should you hire that Job-Hopper?

June 25, 20145:21 am1300 views

One generation ago, job-hopping was career suicide. There are still many hiring managers who continue to be weary of resumes loaded with several short job stints- fearing an unstable, disloyal or incompetent employee.

I say to these hiring managers- this is no longer our father’s job market. When the bulk of the workforce constituency were the Baby Boomers–job hoppers were highly frowned upon. It was the norm to stay with an employer for 30 years, grab your pension and ride off quietly into your sunset years. Twenty years ago- a single move within a five year span may have labeled someone as a pariah. But times have changed. In some industries, a move per year isn’t unheard of. We’re living in an age of job promiscuity, where regularly changing jobs is not just tolerated, but even encouraged in some cases.

And there are numbers to back this up. According to the US bureau of labour statistics, the average number of years that American workers have been with their current employers is 4.6 years. Tenure of younger workers (aged 20-34) is only half that at 2.3 years. And over in China- Asia’s biggest economy, over one third of recent college graduates quit their job in less than a year after finishing school, according to a survey conducted by educational research consultancy MyCos.

There is plenty to suggest that job-hopping is quickly replacing the concept of climbing the corporate ladder. For example in Singapore, a 2014 salary survey by specialist recruitment firm Hays indicated that most employers are looking at giving their staff conservative salary increases of 3 to 6 per cent. A separate 2014 survey by another recruiting giant, Robert Walters, found that successful Singaporean job applicants could expect to see a 15 to 20 per cent pay hike. In other words, the rewards are meager for those who stay on in their jobs but handsome for the job-hopper who seeks new ones.

There are many savvy careerist who map out a strategy that includes stops at several employers- to pick up valuable skill sets and develop in several relevant directions. In the quest for the perfect job, job-hoppers not only switch jobs regularly, they also think several jumps ahead before making a move. And for some recruiters- these savvy job hoppers are worth their weight in gold. In the technology sector, especially within development, mobile and project management-  job-hoppers, with their vast technical knowledge across several products and brands and spanning different environments and cultures- are a valuable resource to their company.

At the end of the day- trying to find the best candidate is like reading tea leaves- a mostly imprecise process- and it is only natural for employers to want to see evidence of loyalty and an ability to be part of a solution when the going gets tough. Yet in this fast evolving economy, it will be impossible to dismiss the value a job hopper may bring to an organization. The key here will be to hire the candidate who switched jobs for the right reasons, who has maintained healthy relationships with past employers- that is a sign of a flexible and resourceful candidate who will add value to the organization.

What would you consider the pros and cons of job hopping? And would you hire a job-hopper? Lets talk! Send me your views and ideas at divya@hrinasia.com.

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