The Pros and Cons of Job Hopping

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Thinking about jumping ship for a new job opportunity? Here are three reasons why that may be a good idea -- and a few potential drawbacks of such a strategy.

Convinced that you should remain loyal to a job, even if you loathe the thought of being there each day?

Or maybe a better opportunity is at your fingertips, but you fear the long-term consequences of making the move.

It may be time to adjust your mindset: The days of hiring managers frowning upon the resumes of those with cameo appearances in the workplace are coming to an end in a number of industries.

Last year, CareerBuilder published the results of a survey that found that job hopping does not always carry a stigma:

More than half (55 percent) of employers surveyed said they have hired a job-hopper, and nearly one-third (32 percent) of all employers said they have come to expect workers to job hop.

According to the survey, the industries where job hopping is most common are:

  • Information technology — 42 percent of employers expect employees to job hop
  • Leisure and hospitality — 41 percent
  • Transportation — 37 percent
  • Retail — 36 percent
  • Manufacturing — 32 percent

With this in mind, here are some arguments to strengthen the case for job hopping:

1. You may find better pay 

Earlier this year, CNN Money talked to several workers who said job hopping has boosted their salary by as much as 31 percent in just a few years.

More than ever, companies are scouring through piles of eligible candidates for those with the most impressive skill sets that can boost their bottom lines. They’re willing to spend money to get them on board.

Says Katie Simon on LearnVest:

[M]any companies are starving for skilled workers — and may pay as much as a 25 percent salary increase for a 10 percent increase in employee productivity. The very businesses that have lowered the raise norm have set up their high performers to hop jobs for better pay.

So, what incentive do you have to stay if money is your motive?

2. You may clarify what you really want

What do you want to do with your life? If you have yet to answer that question, sticking around at a job that you hate probably isn’t the wisest thing to do.

In fact, loyalty has the potential to hinder the process of finding your calling. And if you are trapped in a job or career you dislike, it could lead to bigger issues — like depression — later on.

3. You may look more versatile

Adaptability is a good thing. Some recruiters value a wide range of experience because it means you’re versatile, and have the knowledge and experience to advance their organization.

Versatility also means you are able to adjust to a variety of personalities and company cultures without sacrificing performance.

Potential drawbacks to job hopping

While there are pluses to job hopping, there are drawbacks, too.

The last thing you want is management fearing that you’ll become disengaged at some point and repeat the job-hopping patterns of your past. Too many short jobs on your resume could make some managers unwilling to hire you.

The CareerBuilder survey found that “43 percent of employers won’t consider a candidate who’s had short tenures with several employers.”

Also, job hopping is something that’s considered more acceptable from younger employees, according to the CareerBuilder survey:

While employers may be more accepting of job-hoppers, their expectations still tend to vary based on the candidate’s age. Forty-one percent of employers said that job hopping becomes less acceptable when a worker reaches his/her early to mid-30s (ages 30 or 35). Twenty-eight percent find job hopping less acceptable after the age of 40.

Finally, contributor Jeanne Meister wrote at Forbes that a series of one- to two-year stints at jobs lead some potential employers to question an applicant’s motivation, skill level, engagement on the job and ability to get along with other colleagues:

These hiring managers worry they’ll become the next victims of these applicants’ hit-and-run job holding. For companies, losing an employee after a year means wasting precious time and resources on training and development, only to lose the employee before that investment pays off. Plus, many recruiters may assume the employee didn’t have time to learn much at a one-year job.

Do you think job hopping is more likely to help or to hinder your career?  Share your thoughts in our Forums. It’s a place where you can swap questions and answers on money-related matters, life hacks and ingenious ways to save.

Stacy Johnson

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