Job-hopping was once a risky habit, because employers took it as a sign that you were unreliable and incapable of steady employment. Fortunately, times are changing. The average job tenure in 2016 was just 5.1 years, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. The EBRI also found that the practice of staying with a single company for decades has become outdated. Though switching jobs every few years can be a challenge, it has its benefits.
Here are a few ways job-hopping can actually improve your career.
Three-quarters of employees receive a raise if they ask for it, according to a PayScale study, and it's a good idea to negotiate with your current boss before jumping ship. That said, consulting group Mercer projects that a typical American worker will receive a paltry increase of 2.9% in 2018 -- barely enough to keep up with inflation. Wage stagnation is an issue you can't afford to ignore, and switching jobs can help you negotiate a higher pay that aligns with your value. In fact, a report from the ADP Research Institute found that full-time workers who changed jobs saw their paychecks increase by an average of 4.5%, and workers in the Midwest and Northeast saw an average raise of 5% or more. The potential can be endless depending on your industry and location, and it's a good idea to assess your skills every couple of years. Your knowledge may prove more valuable to another employer.
A changing job market
The days of traditional, on-site employment are numbered, according to a Flexjobs report that reveals some encouraging facts about telecommuting:
- 3.9 million people (2.9% of the total U.S. workforce) work from home at least part-time, up from 1.8 million in 2005.
- The average telecommuter has at least a bachelor's degree, is 46 years of age or older, and earns a higher median salary than an in-office worker.
- Remote workers save an average of $4,000 a year in transportation and office clothing/dry cleaning costs.
- Flexible scheduling saves telecommuters an average of $11,000 a year by avoiding unpaid time off.
- Saved commute time averages 11 days per year.
Money and time are valuable assets, and it's worth considering how the changing job market could benefit you. Step out of the traditional employment model by checking out telecommuting positions.
Your personal life will change over the course of your career, and switching jobs can help you meet changing financial needs. If you're planning a family, for example, paid paternity leave is essential. That said, only 12% of employers offer this benefit. As another example, saving for retirement might become a bigger priority as you age. If you ignored your 401(k) in your 20s, then you should look for a generous employer contribution match to help you catch up. Consider the employee benefits that carry the most value in your life and find an employer who supports your personal needs.
Yawning at your desk is all too common, according to the Udemy 2016 Workplace Boredom Study, which found that 43% of employees feel disengaged at work. The reason? Nearly half (46%) said their jobs didn't allow them to learn new skills, and 44% didn't feel challenged or felt they weren't using their education. Apathy is a career killer, and you're wise to consider new opportunities if you're feeling burned out. Shake off the monotony and look for a career change that suits your interests and professional potential. Take stock of your skills, make a list of the things that give you a sense of purpose at work, and target companies or niches that match your must-haves. If you're feeling lost, this list provides some helpful guidance based on your personality type.
A competitive edge
Changing jobs every few years requires adaptability and initiative -- and it just so happens that over 60% of employers value those two traits, according to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Hiring managers are realizing that job hoppers exhibit certain key qualities -- including motivation, the desire to contribute immediately, and the ability to work efficiently -- from day one. Performance outranks position longevity, and operating at your best is likely to keep the offers coming.
Job hopping can be uncomfortable and downright scary, but the best work is done outside our comfort zones. Consider the perks of switching jobs in the long run. An evolving market is on your side.