For some, job-hopping means changing jobs every year or so. For others, it means ten years for each job. How often should you change jobs? My thought: It depends.
Here’s some information that you might find interesting:
- The average number of years on the job is 4.4 years for all age groups
- Youngest employees change jobs every 12 to 18 months; Oldest employees every 10 years
- High tech jobs have an expectation of rapid change measured in months
- Other industries discourage change, like teaching in a city school system
Why do people change jobs? Some because of external factors: Business slowdown, bad supervisors, or lack of support. Other factors are internal: No training or development, unused skills, and lack of growth or opportunities. Money is seldom the primary reason for a major job change. It’s usually how you are treated or managed. Two important factors keep people on a job: A positive and supportive working environment and work that is interesting and engaging.
So what determines the number of different jobs you have over time? There are a number of factors and combinations of internal and external forces that determine the number of job changes you experience over your career:
- Your ambition and long-term goals. The higher your career goal, the more changes in jobs.
- Your age, pay and level: Younger and lower paid workers will change jobs most frequently.
- The higher your level, pay and age, the less opportunity for higher job openings
- Your industry and the economy. Industry-wide layoffs force changes that are not anticipated.
How do you know when its time to change jobs?
- When you can perform all tasks in a job at a very high level, with no next level job available
- The supply/demand equation is in your favor: Your talent is in demand with few candidates
- When your career path is blocked and there’s no way to move upward in skill development
- You’re bored and ready for a new challenge in a different organization
What are the Pro and Con of continuing to move up your career ladder quickly?
- You accelerate learning new skills with each new job at a higher level
- You expand your responsibilities at a faster pace and move up the career ladder quicker
- At each step you increase compensation and competencies with each new job
- You may add responsibilities without completely mastering the skills from past jobs
- The cost of relocations may be more than the increase in pay
- If you’re in the wrong job track, you may have to drop back later on in level, pay and time
- Too many job jumps are seen as lacking loyalty, continuity, or incomplete training
Job-hopping can either hinder or help your career. It depends upon how and when you choose to advance your career, your readiness for the next step and your overall goal to the time available.
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