Is Frequent Job-Hopping the New Norm for College Grads?

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Job-hopping has doubled over the past couple of decades -- and it is more common in some careers than others.

Sometimes a stereotype is also a reality. That’s what the social media network LinkedIn learned after setting out to find whether millennials are actually the job-hoppers they are made out to be.

As a blog post about the findings puts it:

Millennials are job-hopping more than previous generations. Case closed.

In fact, LinkedIn’s analysis of data on its members shows that job-hopping has doubled over the past couple of decades.

In the first five years after they graduated from college:

  • People who graduated between 1986 and 1990 (considered to be members of Generation X by LinkedIn) averaged more than 1.6 jobs.
  • People who graduated between 2006 and 2010 (millennials) averaged nearly 2.85 jobs.

Job-hopping in the first 10 years after graduation is also on the rise, although numbers are not yet available for the youngest group in the analysis — people who graduated between 2006 and 2010.

Job turnover is more common in some fields than others, at least for the youngest group in the analysis, the study also found.

For people who graduated between 2006 and 2010, turnover within the first five years of graduation was most common in:

  1. Media and entertainment
  2. Professional services
  3. Government/education/nonprofits

Turnover for the same group of graduates was least common in:

  1. Aero/auto/transport
  2. Manufacturing/industrial
  3. Oil and energy

The LinkedIn study did not evaluate what’s behind the increase in job-hopping but noted that common theories include the impact of the Great Recession and the fact that millennials are more interested than older generations in trying out different jobs before settling into a career.

Guy Berger, the LinkedIn economist who analyzed the career path of 3 million college graduates for this study, notes in a CNN Money report:

“A college degree used to slot you into a 40-year career. Now it’s just an entry-level point to your first job. …

“The best advice I can give anyone is to think about acquiring skills and knowledge that can easily be transferred from one place to another.”

What’s your take on the rise in job-hopping? Sound off in our Forums. It’s the place where you can speak your mind, explore topics in-depth, and post questions and get answers.

Stacy Johnson

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