Job-hopping: Favoured by younger workers, frowned upon by older ones

A majority of US workers under the age of 35 believe that changing jobs regularly can help their careers, according to a new survey. Older workers think the opposite, a fact that illustrates the fine line workers must walk when weighing the advantages of changings jobs versus staying put.

Accountemps, an affiliate of global staffing firm Robert Half, reports that 57% of younger workers said changing jobs regularly was a good career move. But 62% of 35- to 54-year-olds and 78% of those 55 and older think it’s a bad idea.

Opinions about job-hopping also diverge somewhat along gender lines in the Accountemps survey of 324 US workers. Forty-seven per cent of men think it’s a good idea to job-hop, compared with 37% of women.

Workers must consider the pluses of changing jobs – one being potentially higher pay – against the potential minuses of being stuck or disengaged in their current position.

The person trying to hire someone for a job may not want to hire a job-hopper, defined by some as one who changes jobs about every two years. Hiring and getting new workers up to speed can be expensive.

For workers, particularly those aided by an improved economy in some parts of the world and forecasts of more hiring, choice can be a good thing. The Accountemps survey lists five potential benefits of job-hopping, according to respondents in the survey:

  • Earning higher compensation, 31%
  • Gaining new skills, 30%
  • Experiencing a new company/corporate culture, 18%
  • Moving up the career ladder faster, 14%
  • Looks better on a CV to have multiple employers, 7%

That last point is debatable, especially if those doing the debating are vastly different in age. Hiring managers seek stability, and employees want a culture where they are given numerous development opportunities.

“Conventional wisdom about the perils of job-hopping has begun to shift, but professionals still need to look carefully before they leap,” Bill Driscoll, a district president with Accountemps, said in a news release. “Changing jobs every three to four years is one thing; more frequent moves could indicate the inability to dig into a role and put employers on guard.”

Related CGMA Magazine content:

Continued Rise Projected for Accounting Salaries in 2015”: Starting salaries for accounting and finance professionals in the United States and Canada across a wide range of positions are expected to trend upward again in 2015.

CFOs Getting More Requests for Pay Increases and Promotions”: Forty-three per cent of CFOs said requests for promotions or more money have increased from two years ago, according to an Accountemps survey. Workers feel more confident about the economy and about job prospects, so they’re more likely to ask for a better title or pay grade.

Neil Amato ( is a CGMA Magazine senior editor.