It was once common for employees to stay with a single company from the outset of their careers until retirement. Today, that’s a rare event. Younger generations are viewing job-hopping as the new normal. According to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report, Americans stay with an employer a median of 4.6 years, and that number drops to three years for workers age 25-34 — suggesting millennials are more likely to change jobs than the general population. A survey from temporary staffing agency Accountemps survey found a similar result: 57 percent of respondents age 18-34 believe changing jobs frequently benefits their career, whereas the majority of those ages 35 and older disagree.
While job-hopping could put you on a fast track to promotions and higher salaries, it’s not without drawbacks. Before launching your next job search, keep these risks in mind:
1. Red flag on resume
Some hiring managers are wary of applicants with a series of short stints. To them, changing jobs too often — more than five jobs in 10 years, according to a Robert Half survey — could be an indication of flightiness and irresponsibility. Employers don’t want to invest in the career development of workers who have a history of coming and going.
2. Lack of seniority
Starting a new job involves an element of risk: Being the newest hire could mean you’re the first one out in the event of an economic downturn or reorganization. On the other hand, when you stay with one company for several years, you have the opportunity to demonstrate your indispensability and loyalty.
3. Shallower relationships
Job hopping may net you a larger network, but those relationships tend to be more superficial. And if your boss, mentor or coworkers don’t have the time to really get to know you before you head to the next new job, they won’t be able to serve as good professional references.
Changing employers isn’t a bad idea. In fact, it’s a good way to acquire new skills, make valuable contacts and move up the ladder. But frequent job-hopping can also have negative repercussions on your career. If you’re getting restless before you’ve put in at least two years with a company, consider ways to challenge yourself professionally without resorting to yet another job search.
Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. The staffing firm has more than 345 locations worldwide. More resources, including online job search services and the Accountemps blog, can be found at accountemps.com.