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  • Writer's pictureWarrick

Is work loyalty overrated?

Should I strive for a job for life or is job-hopping better?

Hello fellow Protagonists,

If I was to go by overheard comments alone, apparently my generation can't stay in the same line of work for a prolonged period of time. Whether or not this is the case, the real question is if this is a negative thing or if it could be something more positive.

A quick look over my CV would tell you that I have only worked for two employers throughout my career (not including part-time work when younger) but have changed location 5 times in the last 8 years. It's quite a lot isn't it.

Maybe there is far less stigma attached to moving jobs than in previous years. Maybe it could be because job-hopper generations are the people who have now been in the working world long enough to start doing the interviewing.

Recent research by Indeed (those folk you may have applied for jobs with) found that 65% of employers have at some point opted to not interview someone because of short-tenure jobs at other companies. This would suggest that job hopping still has a potential negative stigma attached.

The thing is, is it really that uncommon for people to job-hop and to then be painted with the same brush?

In the UK, one survey showed that employees appear to only stay with the same employer for 4.5 years and only 1 in 3 have stayed with their current employer for 6 years or more. Of this same particular group, 45% of them have worked for a single company for 10 years or more in their life.

This might show us that people are happy to stay, given the right circumstances.

The surveyed group were asked how long they intend to stay with their current employer and the average answer came as 3.2 years more.

In another survey focused on Millennials born between 1983-94, 43% of over 10,000 people said that they were planning to leave their job within the next 2 years!

An interesting point to add to this is that it appears people who frequently change jobs tend to earn more at the later stages of their career than those who stay with one company... Up to 50% more! A few articles for you to read if you want are here, here and here.

So in a nutshell job-hopping could have a negative consequence when it comes to looking for new work down the line but could see you earning a lot more by doing so.

This only gives us half of the story though. We need to look into why we are moving from job to job. After all there could be many reasons.

In this survey, the top three reasons given to stay in a job were enjoyment of the role, being treated respectfully and being well paid. Other articles highlight pay as a key reason, particularly amongst younger people, which makes sense when you think about it as younger people tend to start on lower paid jobs.

A part that peaked my interest was that 31% of those surveyed believed that progression was a reason why other people stay in their jobs, where only 13% of those same people listed this as a reason for why they are staying put. Maybe some employers are placing too much emphasis on using progression to keep staff when what they are really after is some enjoyment, respect and fair compensation for their time.

The opposite could be said for why people leave their jobs. In the Millennial survey mentioned above there was a 17% decrease in the belief that their employer works in an ethical manner. We may be moving to find a company that impacts on employees and wider society in a more positive way.

I can also think of additional factors that have led me to move jobs. These have included, shorter commuting times (has a huge impact on general happiness), work place safety and wider plans such as moving back home as a 22 year old to help save up for a house deposit with my now wife.

Job hopping can be a sign of someone who wants to grow or is not happy to work somewhere unless their values are somehow connected.

I am actually interviewing all this week and will take this information into account.

I can tell you that from my situation personally there is no direct correlation between how long somebody has worked for the company and how well they perform. There are both new starters and long serving staff that are brilliant at what they do and the same can be said at the opposite end of the spectrum.

So job hopping can have a host of potential benefits. We may be moving away from a job that did not bring us enjoyment, or for benefits not directly related to that job. We may even see a higher income by doing so.

It would be helpful to remind ourselves that there still may be a negative stigma attached to job-hopping and also to be really careful if we are thinking about moving out of a job that we enjoy and feel respected in, as the next job may have better pay but lack those important aspects.

Do we have any job-hoppers or jobs for lifers in the house?



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