The Pros and Cons of Job Hopping

Reviewed by Melina Theodorou

Illustration of a man carrying a folder and jumping over an obstacle

Job hopping is turning into a growing trend. In recent years, it has become increasingly common among younger professionals whose professional aspirations are redefining the operations of the modern workplace.

With Millennials now making up a significant portion of the current workforce, this generation is more likely to favour job hopping. Indeed, a 2018 study by Robert Half found that 75% of people under 34 believe job hopping could be beneficial for their careers.

While job hopping could potentially help you advance your career, there’s also another side to consider as well.

Could this practice do more harm than good to your career? Here are the pros and cons of job hopping for your consideration.  

The pros 

1. You’ll learn new skills

One of the most significant benefits of job hopping is that it gives you the chance to develop a diverse range of skills.

In today’s economy, agile learning is essential in order to compete in the job market. By regularly changing your work environment, you’ll be able to increase and diversify your knowledge and sharpen your skills.

This will also help you stay current and keep up with new developments in your industry, especially if you work in a competitive sector such as IT, software engineering, design management or app development.

2. You step outside your comfort zone

Job hoppers have to step outside their comfort zone quite frequently as they need to learn fast from the get-go in order to achieve success and make a good impression when they join a new role.

By moving out of your comfort zone, you can expose yourself to different work environments, leadership styles and personalities. This is a great way to build your self-esteem and stay on top of the competition within your industry.

3. You can increase your salary faster

If you’re motivated by regular increases in pay, job hopping may be a right answer for you. According to Fast Company, not only do job hoppers have a higher learning curve, but they also tend to get paid more. In fact, according to Cameron Keng, employees who work for a company for more than two years could earn less over their career by about 50%.

Consequently, staying with the same company for a prolonged period can limit the possibility of regular pay raises, especially when businesses have increasing overhead costs or significant gaps between performance reviews.

4. You develop a wider network

Provided that you quit your job gracefully, regular job hopping can work wonders for your professional network. As you move from one place of employment to another, you’ll expand your list of contacts, which could open up the door to an array of opportunities in the future.

Having a diverse and expansive network won’t only help you strengthen your business connections but will also help you find new employment opportunities in the future.

5. You won’t get bored

Changing jobs regularly is a great way to sustain your passion and excitement for what you do. This will keep you on your toes, allow you to learn an abundance of skills, diversify your knowledge and feel positively challenged. Job hopping could also lead to advancements and promotions that will maintain your enthusiasm for your role.

By frequently switching organisations, you won’t get too comfortable in a role, either, which could enhance your productivity as you’ll be more likely to perform at a higher standard.

Plus, job hopping could also mean relocating for a new job, which gives you a chance to experience life in different cities or countries.

The cons 

1. Hiring managers might have doubts

The process of recruiting is not only time-consuming but also costly. From the employer’s point of view, when someone doesn’t show potential to stay within a role for more than 18 months, it may not be worth interviewing them in the first place.

If you have a list of short stints on your CV, this can raise a red flag for hiring managers. Employers need proof that you’d be committed to the role and that you won’t throw in the towel as soon as a more appealing opportunity comes along.

A serial job hopper could indicate a lack of focus, reliability, direction and strong work ethic. If recruiters think you move from one role to another purely for monetary reasons, they’ll be reluctant to invest time and money to train you if you’re going to leave shortly after.

2. It could weaken your CV

Because job hoppers switch career paths so often, they have less time to achieve notable accomplishments. If your successes cannot be demonstrated on your CV, this could make it look weak. Your CV mustn’t be disproportionately long compared to the number of years you’ve been working.

Also, it’s crucial to give a motive for your frequent job switching and the reasons why you left your previous post; otherwise, your application may not be considered at all.

3. You gain less in-depth knowledge

As mentioned above, frequent job changers have the benefit of possessing a wide variety of skills, but how in-depth are those skills? How extensive is their knowledge about a particular industry?

When you move from one company to another within a short space of time, you also limit the learning process that naturally occurs when you work for one organisation for a more extended period of time. Indeed, staying put gives you in-depth knowledge about your employer’s corporate culture, operations and business model.

4. You have to start from scratch each time

When you start somewhere new, you need to familiarise yourself with new systems and procedures – a process that takes time and patience. Plus, you also need to get to know new people and adapt to a brand-new company culture. Not only that but you also have to work harder to prove your capabilities as the latest addition to the team. All of this takes time and effort.

Plus, you may miss out on career advancement opportunities, which are typically rewarded to more established employees who’ve been at the company for a longer time. What’s more, if the company needs to make people redundant, newer employees are typically the first ones to go.

5. Your confidence could take a toll

The job-hunting process certainly isn’t easy; it requires effort and determination to look for a new job and prepare for an interview.

On top of that, if you’re a job hopper, this could be an additional concern for you, as there’s always the uncertainty of how employers will interpret your ever-changing job history. In the end, this could affect your confidence in an interview but also throughout the entire job searching process.

Sometimes, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Before rushing to leave a company after a year or so, first look for additional responsibilities within your current organisation. Is there any way you could you secure a promotion or develop new skills?

Finding new job opportunities as a job hopper isn’t always easy, so before you quit your current role, make sure you weigh all the pros and cons. Your reasons for leaving need to be rational, and you should ensure that you’ve stayed put long enough to demonstrate sufficient experience and progression.

Also, it’s vital to assess your career goals and talents. What motivates you? What drives you to work with passion and enthusiasm? What sort of workplace culture and environment has the most significant effect on you? Once you can answer these questions, this will make it easier to find a role that matches your skills and strengths.

Can you think of any other pros and cons of job hopping? Join the conversation below and let us know!

This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published on 27 September 2017.