Job-hopping millennials: friend or foe?

Job Hopping - The new norm for Millenials

One of the biggest impacts Millennials have had on the modern workplace is job hopping – younger workers seek out new and exciting opportunities for development if progression in their current job is deemed too slow. In fact, recent statistics from the Bureau of Labor revealed the average worker stays at each of his or her jobs for 4.2 years – but workers aged 25-34 only stay an average of 2.8 years.

So why are younger people moving on so soon? The tradition of settling in a ‘job for life’ and slowly working your way up the corporate ladder seems to be fading. Studies show the average age for settling down to buy a home, get married and have children is rising – and Millennials will dedicate the time to finding a fulfilling career and rising through the ranks before they put down roots. Ambitious workers, with one eye on the latest job vacancies in their field, may even be happy to move across the country to secure the perfect job.

Instead of waiting for promotion opportunities, Millennials will job hop to secure more money, more responsibility and opportunities to develop new skills. But what advantages does job hopping offer to HR managers and recruiters? And how can HR systems help organizations to better engage with employees to prevent a hasty departure?

Below we discuss the pros and cons for job hopping, for both employees and employers, and what you can do to keep staff turnover low:

Job hopping offers opportunities for companies too
While staff leaving a role after just a couple of years can be a nightmare for businesses, the trend can also work in a hiring manager’s favor. The rise of job hopping has resulted in a growing talent pool with a close eye on the latest vacancies and opportunities for development – meaning you could be spoilt for choice when it comes to filling your next vacancy. Job hopping also means workers are picking up varied skill sets from different companies, bringing innovative new ways of working with them.

Job hopping also forces companies to really listen to their people, and ensures employee engagement is a priority for HR teams. Awareness of what workers want from their job and their career goals means managers can step in to help make it happen – developing their talent pool and encouraging loyalty at the same time.

But there are downsides
While job-hopping employees may have gained valuable experiences and skills from their different roles, the attitude of some employers to a perhaps erratic job history hasn’t changed. While Millennials may seek out new roles to move up their industry ladder, employers may be put off by the increased likelihood that a candidate will simply move on if something fresh pops onto their radar.

Of course, job hopping can hurt companies – as staff turnover rises so does the cost of recruitment, and the disruption of people leaving and joining teams can affect employee wellbeing and productivity. Investing time and money to develop and train a new hire only for them to take those new skills to a competitor is not what any manager wants. Sometimes this may be unavoidable – if you can’t offer the progression an employee wants when a more lucrative job vacancy appears then you may have to accept their departure.

So what can you do about it?
Companies need to be proactive in ensuring workers are fulfilled, valued and have no reason to be looking for development elsewhere. Listening to employees about their career goals and wellbeing can help to offer development and opportunities for progression before they start looking for job vacancies elsewhere. HR systems that allow employees to request additional training and offer a degree of self-management when it comes to developing skills – through e-learning, for example – can benefit both employee wellbeing and team productivity.

HR software can also be used to remind employees of underused benefits such as discounted gym memberships or car lease schemes, as well as offering a platform for workers to give valuable feedback about their personal wellbeing and satisfaction with their current reward and benefits package. It can be a space to advertise internal promotion opportunities, pre-empting an employee’s desire to progress before they ask for promotion.

Ultimately, job hopping is being discussed more widely in the HR industry as the average employee’s tenure in a role is steadily decreasing. But the trend does offer opportunities – from an increasing talent pool to help you find the best new hires, to forcing a more proactive approach to employee engagement that can boost both wellbeing and productivity.

While some employees may be continually searching for their next move, taking steps to encourage loyalty and being clear about advancement opportunities can help reduce staff turnover. Recognizing the ambition of younger workers and working with them to ensure their hard work is rewarded can reduce the risk of losing important talent – as well as developing a skilled and fulfilled workforce.

But don’t just focus on the Millennials, there are four other generations out there too and whilst job hopping is prominent amongst the younger generations, the whole workforce from 17 to 70 needs engaging.

Wait - don't go!