Job Hopping and the new generation: how to avoid too frequent changes in the company6 min read

Increasingly common here too, after having taken hold overseas, the phenomenon of job hopping is now becoming, for many young workers, synonymous with ‘no compromise’. And yet, despite its diffusion, analysts and research agree on the risk of not always positive repercussions, worker and recruiter side. In the article, an analysis of the phenomenon and dynamics at MBK Fincom.

The image of ‘hopping‘ from one job to another renders the idea of this phenomenon quite well; job hopping is not simply a splurge of salary and training, but a reflection of complex social and economic mechanisms that, in recent years, have shaped a new employment paradigm in the workers of Generation Y (the so-called Millennials).

As often as the causes may seem just and noble, the consequences are not always so; while disinterest in the ‘fixed job’ is waning on the employee side, recruiters still demand stability and reliability. A well-conceived storytelling on the recruiter side, unfortunately, is not enough; companies invest, and this investment must return, even in the medium to long term. Let’s read some background on the phenomenon, and MBK Fincom’s advice to avoid losing useful resources.

An overview of the phenomenon

While the practice has been going on in the US for a few years, the way of entrepreneurship in Europe has only recently allowed job jumpers to carve out a slice of the labour market significant enough to talk about.

Acute during the pandemic, either because of changing perspectives or out of necessity, the job hopping phenomenon has unveiled a whole new set of demands from an entire generation of workers; different profiles, different ambitions, completely revolutionised priorities.

The Millennials generation (1980-1996), which then represents almost the entire core of today’s workforce and production, is the true representative of the trend. It has been noted that what 90% of the workers in this generational group do not spend more than 5 years in the same job; the percentage drops to 37% if we restrict the time span to two years, although it is still on the rise. Over 40% (43, specifically) of GenY see this as a positive fact (we will see that recruiters think somewhat differently). The percentage of active job hoppers, 64% in the US, is slightly lower in Europe.

If the search for well-being and work-life balance, the entrepreneurial spirit, digital nomadism and the desire for mobility are the driving force behind this trend, it is true that high unemployment rates, the lack of prospects for change and the volatile turnover rates are still obstacles.

Job Hoppers: an average profile

This category of workers should not be seen as chronically impatient, or as untrained semi-professionals; instead, they are composite and very interesting professional figures, who are unfortunately looking for better pay, flexibility or a change of perspective.

Among the characteristics most often encountered we can list:

  • adaptability
  • speed of learning
  • creativity
  • flexibility
  • high organisational skills
  • good communication skills
  • goal-focused
  • multifaceted expertise
  • good know-how
Job Hopping as a search for stability

The disadvantages of job hopping

It is natural that such a trend, in addition to the approval of many, also attracts a certain amount of mistrust.

While many workers prefer this approach, companies take a different view. The too close frequency of job vacancies, and related ‘jumps‘, for a company may represent a low level of company loyalty; moreover, the very credibility of the candidate and his or her skills and competences (which may be very good) may be questioned by a recruiter. In the event of staff reductions, the first to be sacrificed risk being precisely those seen as ‘discouraging‘ in terms of career path; furthermore, not working over the long term, it is complicated to visualise the candidate’s results and professional growth.

On the company side, however, the disadvantage is not insignificant.
To risk missing out on a capable resource, in whom one has decided to invest, is a loss that is difficult to calculate, almost as much as having to look for and train that resource again. Moreover, and this has become more apparent post-pandemic, finding new candidates who do not fall into the category of job jumpers is becoming increasingly complex; more than a third of the new Generation Z workers, for example, fall into this category, with a view to placing their welfare higher than their economic return. Moreover, as these young people are more socially focused than personally focused, their critical attitude towards a company, even at the expense of not being able to ‘get attached’ to it if not in line with their values, exacerbates the problem.

How a company can avoid the loss of talent

Can a company avoid losing its talent along the way?
Absolutely yes, by working on employee engagement.

According to what we have applied and measured at MBK Fincom, for example, there are some best practices that can guarantee a good level of staff loyalty by ensuring that all their skills and growth are voluntarily put to use for the well-being of the company, which is framed as the well-being of all.

Some practices we can recommend are:

  1. improve l’onboarding: a new employee must not feel like a number in a table, but rather an integral, useful and important part of a mechanism that cannot do without them. Work on reception, training, creating a quality receptive environment;
  2. focus on team building: composite ecosystems create dynamism, which pushes an employee to feel actively part of a higher project. If you manage to cultivate an interactive and interdependent environment around them, rest assured that your talent will hardly want to leave this dynamic;
  3. manage stress: work generates stressit is a fact. However, there are ways and means to limit it, or even prevent it from developing. Listen to your employees, working on flexibility (smart working, flexible hours), participation, gamification, deserved rewards, a proper work-life balance, to avoid even the single episode of burnout;
  4. design an effective career plan: commitments are rewarded, results are recognised, and an employee who sees concrete opportunities for growth will not want to miss them. Try to give a true overview of goals, with growth moments well fixed in the path and in time.

In conclusion

As appealing as the prospect of frequent turnover may seem (we are addressing employees here), try to focus on rational growth.

We advise employers, on the other hand, to work on their relationship with their resources, so as not to incur a loss of talent and, consequently, annoying impasses such as new research, new training, new spending.

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