Job hopping is a growing trend in the labour market. While recruiters may have been initially wary of frequent job-to-job moves, this practice can bring new opportunities for employees and employers alike.

dashboard showing increasing rates and notifications of job hopping and its challenges

According to a survey from Randstad UK, 69% of workers are ready to move jobs, and almost a quarter of employees in the UK plan to do so within the next three to six months. Recruiting and retaining talent has become more challenging. The COVID-19 pandemic appears to have spurred the so-called Great Resignation, an occurrence that seems to be in full flow according to some experts, while others question the idea of a mass resignation and relate these changes in the job market to the furlough scheme ending and the economy reopening.  

What the statistics seem to back, however, is the major shift in attitudes workers have towards their job. Labour shortages and a changing job market have encouraged workers to demand new work conditions that enable a better work-life balance, as well as meet their expectations regarding skills development, higher wages, and improved career progression.

The action of professionals who change jobs regularly and voluntarily is known as job hopping. While the reasons for seeking new challenges and jobs can vary, there is debate about whether job hopping is a negative or a positive trait.

Is job hopping a good thing or a bad thing?

For a long time, short stints at a specific job were not necessarily seen in a good light. However, perceptions appear to be changing now that so many professionals are switching careers. While some managers may still question job hoppers’ motives, others understand that the highly competitive job market can provide new expectations for employees to earn better salaries and gain more experience in a shorter time frame. 

Job hopping can present challenges to companies

HR teams can identify some possible hazards when recruiting people who regularly change jobs. 

  • Reduced commitment: For some, job hoppers epitomise instability or a lack of commitment , as they may not have a sense of belonging to the company.
  • Lack of specialisation: Due to their constant switching from one job to another, these employees can often lack specialisation or knowledge of a company’s culture.
  • Short-term perspective: If employees look unlikely to stay for the long haul, their short-term perspective may also render them unsuitable for prolonged projects.
  • Increased hiring costs: Job hoppers can lead to an increase in hiring costs. After all, one of the reasons people are open to switching jobs is the prospect of earning better wages. An estimate of the average cost-per-hire hire in the UK is £14,895. When added to the increase in job hopping and employees requesting better salaries, companies must be careful to remain within their budget to maintain their return on investment (ROI).
  • Impact on team morale: Additionally, regular staff turnover may affect team morale, brand loyalty, or productivity.

Job hopping can also present opportunities for recruiters

If HR teams can overcome these challenges, recruiting job hoppers can also bring benefits.

  • Businesses can hire great talent: The availability of job hoppers allows companies to scoop great talent from the job market. Multiple talented professionals are making themselves available to deliver their skills for your company. With so many digital platforms available, like social media, career sites, and applicant tracking systems, recruiters can contact prospects and make a job offer.
  • It can be easier to attract these skilled workers: Since job hoppers are also actively looking for a new opportunity, it can be easier to attract this talent, making negotiations swifter and easier.
  • Job hoppers offer extensive experience: Job hoppers are also experienced in different fields. Seeing as they have worked with diverse business models, processes, software, and products, they can deliver new insights to their company.
  • These new employees have a wealth of soft skills: The varied experiences job hoppers have can also mean they have developed soft skills, such as communication, resilience, and adaptability, while also acquiring a wide network of contacts that may be of value for talent management teams.

How can recruiters attract and retain employees?

Employees who have switched jobs with frequency have acquired hard and soft skills from adapting to different work environments. These skills can make job hoppers an asset to a company, but their wealth of experience may mean they have certain expectations or demands that employers need to meet to convince these employees to stay longer. What can businesses do to develop the right environment to attract and retain these skilled employees? We have six recommendations. 

1. Encourage communication between teams

Employees working in a position for a short time may not know about roles outside of their department. Internal communication strategies can strengthen relationships and communication between teams, and may be a way of fortifying company loyalty or encouraging employees to seek change and growth in a different department rather than by leaving a company.

2. Do not renounce remote or hybrid work models

While some employees have welcomed the return to the office, others want to continue with hybrid or remote work. Surveys show that companies offering hybrid or remote work are less likely to be affected by resignations. Employees seek flexible working policies when evaluating whether to stay at their jobs. More than half of UK workers would consider quitting their job if hybrid working was no longer an option.  

In order to reach out to a growing demand for remote work capabilities, recruiters should reconsider making office life a requirement and invest in improving their remote work software and collaboration tools to meet this demand.

3. Foster interaction between managers and employees

Employees should feel comfortable talking to their managers and stressing any concerns they may have that might make them consider leaving. Remote work shouldn’t be an obstacle when engaging with employees, and team management software can help managers improve collaboration and productivity and ultimately retain their talent.

4. Promote corporate culture and employee awareness

Maintaining employee awareness of corporate culture and increasing their investment in a company can still be done in hybrid and remote work environments with the assistance of employee engagement software. The use of gamification tools and team sentiment analytics can help streamline communications and allow businesses to engage with their employees. Employee advocacy tools also encourage employees to share branded content across social networks to boost a brand’s online presence and can be used to improve employee engagement and brand loyalty. 

5. Deploy training to boost employee skills and knowledge

Job hoppers may leave their positions in search of new growth opportunities and knowledge. Stagnant roles that deliver scarce development prospects can push disgruntled employees to seek new challenges. Companies should encourage personal and professional growth by providing training and learning initiatives so that employees can upskill and optimise their talent.  

6. Collect and act on employee feedback

Even in worst-case scenarios where employees decide to move on from your company, exit interviews are important to gain insights into why this talent is leaving, and provide you with information HR teams might need to stop employees from departing. Surveys can help managers measure employee satisfaction and feedback to try to build better retention rates and identify potential organisational issues.

Is job hopping here to stay?

The jury is out on whether job hopping is the new norm but it seems modern career plans have changed with regard to jobs that were based on climbing the corporate ladder and seeking promotions in one or two companies. A 2021 study by YouGov and Vestd found that a third of Gen Z workers are looking for a job elsewhere. Today, there are other alternatives to satisfy salary expectations and personal ambition.

Recruiters need to find a balance between experience and loyalty or between market exposure and reliability, and they may have to spend increased time on social media platforms looking for the right people. Employers should be prepared to adapt to new trends, such as remote or hybrid work, and be more creative with their offerings to win the battle for talent and to retain existing staff. Listening to employee feedback is vital to develop a people-centric business model, and managers should engage with their teams to make them feel comfortable and less likely to look for another job elsewhere. 

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