Seemingly, the word is out that millennials (born from 1980 to 1996) are gaining a reputation for job-hopping. According to a recent Gallup report, 21% of millennials changed jobs in the past year. This is a huge number and considerably more than for older generations. Apparently the belief is that this rapid move in jobs can boost one’s career with greater salaries and more learning possible with this strategy.


Dear Colleagues

EIT Stock ImageSeemingly, the word is out that millennials (born from 1980 to 1996) are gaining a reputation for job-hopping. According to a recent Gallup report, 21% of millennials changed jobs in the past year. This is a huge number and considerably more than for older generations.

Apparently the belief is that this rapid move in jobs can boost one’s career with greater salaries and more learning possible with this strategy. Perhaps, in working for a short time with a start-up , for example, you can hit the mother lode with a big payout when the company is bought or listed on the stock exchange.

Supporting this argument for rapid job movement is a survey from Payscale which found a ferocious turnover with tech companies such as Amazon and Alphabet (owner of Google) with a workforce median tenure of slightly more than one year. Quite unbelievable. The amount of change in these companies would be incredible requiring a totally different approach to running the business.

With all the restructuring and downsizing (or rightsizing as the economists may refer to it) going on in industry, the move from job to job seems quite believable. And many senior managers have seen the booms and busts before and are probably sympathetic to someone who hasn’t been long with a company.

It’s all a Myth
Most assuredly, however even today, if you walk into a hiring manager’s office and tell her that you have been through three jobs in three years, you won’t exactly enhance your odds of getting the position. So, job hopping isn’t a good idea or an easy story to tell a would-be employer. So if you have been through a flurry of jobs – you better have a good story to tell the hiring manager.

For example, it is quite understandable if you worked for a company that went bust (e.g. a start up) or you worked as an intern for a year to get experience in a particular technology. Or you set up your own business which didn’t work out. Or you worked on a series of projects as  a contractor.

The Unmentionables
However, if you start mentioning reasons for moving quickly from company to company which included such items that you had a loser for a boss or couldn’t handle the company’s culture or similar explanations – you are probably not going to be giving a good story to get you that job you are after.

There has been a change of Philosophy
There is no doubt that only 20 years ago; jobs were hugely stable and engineering professionals often stayed for whole careers with one company. However, the last decade or two has seen company restructurings and failures reach epidemic proportions. Aided and abetted by the massive technology change going on.

So managers today are more sympathetic to job hopping but nonetheless you still need to have a carefully rehearsed story if you have been through a plethora of jobs in a few years. Good luck.

Thanks to an interesting article by Dawn Kawamoto of the IEEE for some of the references above.

Yours in engineering learning

Steve

Mackay’s Musings – 11th Oct’16 #621
780, 293 readers – www.idc-online.com/blogs/stevemackay