No one wants to be considered a job-hopper, but when is the time really right to quit? In considering people to be hired, there are many things employers and recruiters look at carefully before deciding to continue the process. Once the necessary experience and education are considered, the next thing that is looked at is job stability. We cringe every time we see anything resembling more than four or five jobs in the last 10 years.
We can be rational in understanding that the last four years have realized an economy unlike anything that we have seen in our lifetimes. We can therefore be lenient regarding tenure and frequency. That being stated, if there is a pattern that extends before 2008, then the red flag is waving.
“The average length of time at a job is 3.2 years for those age 25-34, but increases to 10.3 years for those 65 and older.”
According to the 2012 Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median years of tenure with their current employer covering all ages is 4.6 years.
Uncontrollable issues are lay-offs and getting fired. But of course they’re not viewed the same. Many younger workers are still trying to find what works for them. And that may take a few tries. However, as we age, the chronic pattern of one or two-year tenures at jobs will eventually catch up and start causing problems. Unfortunately many people will never realize the harm that has been done because they will never be considered and contacted for potential jobs.
Job-hopping is creating one thing: a work history that is fragmented and one in which few employers are going to want to take a chance on hiring. Look at it this way: Would you want to hire someone that has worked at one or two places for a year then went elsewhere for the same amount of time; and then went to even another job? Remember that there is an expense and investment in any worker; whether they answer phones, visit customers or putting together a meal at the drive-thru.
Given a choice between a more stable work history and one that is rocky, Hiring Managers will most likely pick an established past over more years of experience. It just makes sense.
There are many retreads in our industry and in every line of work. The musical chairs game that takes people from one company to the next and on to the next, etc. is played out in every region of the country. We have tired of the game and there are more viable people to be hired out there.
For the job-hoppers or future retreads out there, it’s time to ponder if the career impact down the road is really worth another move. Sometimes there are issues that makes sense; such as a great opportunity with the company of your dreams, a generous salary bump or simply a company situation that is unbearable.
The best advice is to remain as long as you can and get those years (read: plural) on the résumé in order to be sought after for a higher-profile position and company in the future.