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Why are More Employees Job Hopping?

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A recent ClearanceJobs survey found 69 percent of cleared employers surveyed are likely to hire someone who has changed jobs in the past year.

A separate survey of candidates found 47 percent of cleared candidates surveyed have been in their jobs less than 3 years.

The term “job hopping” used to be an industry term for candidates who failed to stay in one job for long. Now it seems to be the new normal.

Whether you call it “independent contracting” the “gig economy,” “flex work” or “freelance,” today’s work environment is different. Flexibility is an increasingly important benefit for many candidates. Individuals also are much less likely to feel allegiance to the company they’re working for.

Even the federal government is starting to look at how it can appeal to employees who may be leery of the once-standard 30-year tenure in the same agency.

“We’re not looking for 30-year career employees,” Angela Bailey, chief human capital officer for the Department of Homeland Security, noted earlier this year, as she announced DHS plans to hire up to 1,000 new cybersecurity workers. “We’re actually looking for folks that want to come in, they want to get this excellent experience and then they take it to the private sector, and then they come back again.”

The government is beginning to understand that if it wants to attract top talent, it needs to highlight not the longevity of the career, but perhaps how the agency can help it jumpstart opportunities in the private sector or with other agencies.

Less Stability, More Connections

Some credit millennials for today’s job hopping trends. Millennials currently make up one-third of the workforce, and are projected to be at nearly 50 percent by 2020. Millennials aren’t entry-level workers anymore, either. They currently make up a quarter of all managers in the workforce.

Ninety-one percent of millennials expect to stay in a job less than three years, according to a recent survey. And while baby boomers looked for things like stability, benefits, and family time, millennials cite happiness and fulfillment as key workplace motivators. Another benefit helping millennials? They’re well connected—and they’re able to use those connections to network their way into a new position.

In addition to job satisfaction, salary is also a critical motivator to change jobs. A Forbes contributor notes that those who stay in their companies longer than two years will get paid 50 percent less than their peers who switch jobs. Why? Changing positions you can expect to get at least a 6-10 percent increase in salary. Stay in the same job, and you may be lucky to get a three percent raise.

So, is job hopping for everyone? Career experts still advise job seekers to look for a position they can keep. And if you do spend years hopping, you need to get your story straight. Pursuing a new skill or passion is a good reason to job hop. Getting bored isn’t.

“If you have a lot of shorter-term jobs on your resume, you need to have good story for the hiring manager about why you’ve hopped around,” said Lisa Quast, a certified career coach and author.

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