Author: Paul Wolfe, SVP of Human Resources at Indeed
[Note: This article was first published in September 2018 and the date included is from that period]
We’ve all heard of the term “job hopping” – when a person works briefly at various companies rather than stay at an organization long term. And there’s a certain stigma attached to those who have a history of job hopping. Oftentimes, employers perceive this behaviour as evidence that a person is disloyal, unreliable and disengaged. In fact, 27% of Canadian employers say that they have a negative view of people with a history of short tenure.
Canada’s unemployment rate has reached historically low levels, resulting in an extremely tight labour market. When it comes to job hopping, this raises the question: Can employers afford to skip out on talent due to a job seeker’s short tenure at previous companies?
Many of today’s workers regard job hopping as the new normal. It isn’t uncommon for people to switch jobs, companies and even industries multiple times throughout their career.
As shorter-term roles become a norm for today’s workforce, employers can no longer afford to discount potential candidates based on the length of time they’ve stayed in previous roles. Compared to how long they stay in a job, skills, aptitude and cultural addition are all better indicators of success in a job today.
There are varying sentiments around job hunting – some believe it helps their careers, while others believe it hinders them during the recruitment process. Indeed recently surveyed 1,001 employees and job seekers and 201 employers to get a better sense of the perceptions and assumptions made about job hopping.1 Here’s what we found.
Over a quarter of Canadian Employers surveyed claim that they have a negative view of job hoppers. Yet, 73% (nearly three quarters) of respondents have chosen not to interview someone who has had short-term jobs at previous companies. This contrast suggests a potential unconscious bias. Moreover, it indicates that while some employers don’t necessarily perceive job hopping behaviour negatively, when up against other talent, it could be a factor that pushes candidates out of the rankings.
Employers regard job-hopping candidates as potential flight risks. And some are unwilling to take the risk due to the time and money required to replace employees. Over nine in 10 (94%) employers say that hiring a job-hopper, who subsequently left the company, negatively impacted their business due to increased training costs and lowered company productivity.
One of the key takeaways from Indeed’s study is that employees/job seekers and employers have a difference in opinion about job hopping, especially with respect to what it reveals about a candidate’s character.
While 20% believe that they have missed out on opportunities they were qualified for due to previous short-tenure roles on their resume, they don’t believe that job hopping is an indication of a bad employee. Instead, they believe it highlights positive attributes. Job hopping provides them with opportunities to cultivate a larger variety of experience and exposure to different work environments and people.
Nearly a quarter (24%) of respondents do not view job hopping as a sign of disloyalty in the workplace. Instead, 59% of job seekers say that switching jobs frequently has given them the opportunity to learn new skills. Moreover, 54% of job hoppers felt that frequent job changes showcases their ability to adapt in the workplace and be comfortable with change.
The survey also pointed to a discrepancy when it comes to what exactly constitutes job hopping. Employers surveyed believe that new hires should spend at least 16 months at their company before moving to a new role, while job seekers considered 11 months as an acceptable time period.
In a candidate-driven market, employers should seek strategies to increase their pool of talent. Instead of losing out on skilled candidates due to their short tenure, employers may want to consider shifting their focus to hiring based on skills and prioritizing retention.
Oftentimes, employees are not turning their back on a company, but rather moving – or hopping – toward a better opportunity. And by doing so, they have acquired skills that could be beneficial for your company.
The best way to cultivate a great workplace is to have a solid understanding of what matters to the modern candidate and the reasons for which they decide to change companies. Based on a separate Indeed survey conducted to job seekers,2 we’ve pinpointed some of the best ways to retain talent as well as attract a stronger pool of talent.
1. Offer a competitive salary: 52% of job seekers say that higher compensation is the reason they’re searching for a new job. In a tight labour market, employees have options, so be aware of the salaries offered in your industry and geographical area to ensure you remain competitive.
2. Focus on growth and development: 30% of job seekers say they are looking for a new job because there is no room for growth at their current company. Invest in your employees by offering them training and development opportunities and give them an achievable path to advancement.
Ensure that managers have regular conversations with employees about their goals and how they can advance within the organization.
3. Offer flexibility: Now more than ever, candidates are seeking flexible work options. In fact, 43% of job seekers state that flexible time off is one of the most important factors when considering a new job opportunity. The best way to do this is by offer flex hours or creating a work from home policy.
4. Establish a supportive culture: Culture is important to employees. In fact, 55% of job seekers say that they have decided not to apply to a company because they didn’t think it was a good cultural fit. Moreover, 57% state that a company’s culture of inclusivity has a significant impact on their decision to accept a job offer. The best way to enhance your culture is to start at the top and incorporate changes into your companies hiring and management programs.
5. Reward employees for good work: Employees want to feel valued at their company. While 41% of job seekers say that performance bonuses are important to them when considering a new job opportunity, there are other ways to recognize top performers such as handing out outstanding achievement awards on a regular basis.
Regardless of how employers feel about job hopping, you shouldn’t disqualify skilled candidates solely due to short-term roles at previous companies. After all, if your company is committed to developing and executing an effective retention strategy, even a serial job hopper could be inclined to stay put.
This research was conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Indeed among 1,001 randomly selected employed respondents/job seekers and 201 randomly selected employers in Canada between July 7, 2018 and August 1, 2018. The margin of error is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.
This research was conducted by Decipher/FocusVision on behalf of Indeed among 500 randomly selected job seekers in Canada between August 24, 2018 and August 31, 2018.