Times have changed with regards to people’s perception of long term workers. 10-15 Years ago someone with a CV that has them working at 3 different jobs in the past 7 years raised alarm bells and the individual would have been tagged as an unreliable job hopper.
However now individuals are looking for career growth opportunities far more quickly and if it isn’t available at the current company, they don’t sit around frustrated that they are not being utilized to full capacity …they move on instead.
The 1990s have completely changed the rules for how long employees stay at their jobs — and how long employers expect them to stay.
Statistics show that workers in almost every age group are staying at jobs for a shorter period of time than their counterparts did in the 1980s. For instance, 25- to 34-year-olds hold their current jobs for a median of 2.7 years
The numbers reflect a sea change in people’s attitudes about their careers and changing jobs. The days are gone when many people could expect to spend 40 years at a single company, moving steadily up the ladder and retiring with a fat pension and gold watch.
Today, more employees — especially those under 30 — view themselves as “free agents” who must actively manage their own careers. They realize their companies may lay them off at any moment if there’s a business slump or merger. They know their economic survival depends on maintaining cutting-edge skills. And so they don’t feel a drop of guilt about jumping ship if another job offers better pay or more growth opportunity.
Employers today are becoming more used to applicants with frequent job changes. In fact, now many companies sometimes view long tenure at one job more sceptically than they do job hopping, considering the individual to be of low ambition rather that look at the positives of loyalty. It used to be an honour badge to have worked 15 years at one company.
Now, it’s not uncommon for people to move around more frequently, with 3 years considered reasonable and 5 years now considered a long stint. (5 is the new 15)
Today’s trend of shorter job tenure has its roots in the downsizing wave of the late 1980s and early 1990s, which shattered many people’s expectations of lifetime employment. But other factors have contributed as well:
• The current strong economy makes workers more confident that if a job change doesn’t work out, they can find something else.
• Compulsory transferable superannuation has replaced traditional long service pension plans, reducing financial risk of frequent job changes.
• The Internet — with hundreds of job listings just a keystroke away — makes it easier than ever before to find out about other job options.
• More Headhunters and executive recruiters have emerged in recent years, so professional-level employees are more likely than before to have someone dangling attractive new jobs in front of them.
For employers, job hopping can be costly and frustrating. It is estimated that every departing employee costs a company 1.5 times his or her salary — a combination of recruiting costs, training time and lost productivity as co-workers and supervisors pitch in during the transition.
Employers try to hold on to departing employees with counteroffers of raises. But frequently that kind of response comes too late. The best way to retain skilled workers is to continually check that salaries are competitive and make sure individual employees feel challenged and appreciated.
In today’s new environment, how short is too short to stay at a job? The answer varies among industries and professions. Two to three years used to raise a red flag, but now, its one to 1.5 years. But what is very important is why did they leave? Was it a career growth opportunity? Does the CV indicate steady career growth or are they just moving due to being bored or chasing more money. I feel they must be leaving for the right reason, which in my opinion includes career growth limitations, lack of company stability or poor management structure. If it’s about money the individual must have given the previous employer a chance to review their salary before they have pulled the pin. If its career growth, the current employer must understand your aspirations upfront and be given the opportunity to promote you within.