Job Hopping and Hiring: How to Get Job Hoppers to Stay

Job hopping is when employees change jobs within a year or two, usually more than once. It’s a trend strongly associated with Millennials, and as the demographic recently became the largest in the workforce, job hopping is here to stay. A 2016 Gallup survey found that six in 10 Millennials always have their radar up for new job opportunities.

As a recruiter or hiring manager, it is all too easy to focus on the negatives of job hopping: it can feel as though the majority of your existing employees have a foot out the door, and prospective hires lack the commitment to hang around. But the trend is both more complicated and more positive than at first glance.

Job Hopping Is Not New

While job hopping is most prevalent among Millennial employees, it is because they are young and not because the generation is particularly prone to switching things up in employment. According to the data analysis website FiveThirtyEight, the length of time people in their 20s stay in a job is nearly the same today as it was in the 1980s.1

Also, as Millennials age their interest in job hopping is trending down. According to the 2017 Deloitte Millennial Survey, 38 percent of Millennials plan to leave their current job within two years, compared with 44 percent in 2016, and only 7 percent say they plan to leave their job soon, compared to 17 percent in 2016.

It is logical that these young employees are exploring different jobs, companies, and even geographic areas. Some economists say job hopping is an important phase for young workers that eventually lands them in jobs that are a better fit, higher paying, and that they will stick with.2 Still, Millennial job hopping is expensive for employers, with turnover costs reaching an estimated $30.5 billion each year.3

How to Attract and Retain Job Hoppers

Contrary to popular belief and pop-culture representations, Millennials need more than bottomless snacks and a gaming room to feel satisfaction at work. They want opportunities to expand their skill set, grow in their workplace responsibilities, and make more money. They also appreciate a job that offers long-term security.

Central to drawing and keeping job-hoppers is offering them, among other things, career mobility and annual pay raises. According to research by survey company Qualtrics and Accel Partners, a venture capital firm, Millennial workers have more in common with Generation X and the Baby Boomers than often assumed. In the survey of almost 1,500 Millennials, only 3 percent said they dislike spending too much time at one job, and 77 percent said they would take a pay cut if they knew they would have long-term job security.4

Communicate with Candidates and New Hires

Millennials also value clear communication and organizational transparency. According to several studies, Millennials want to communicate with managers more frequently than any other generation in the workforce.5 This is a group that prizes being in the loop from day one. According to the Qualtrics-Accel survey, companies are more likely to retain new Millennial employees when they train them thoroughly and when managers clearly invest in their success in the first 90 days.6 More often than not, managers are invested in the success of their workers; they simply need training in how—and how often—to effectively communicate this fact.

Workplace messaging tools, such as Slack and Yammer, can also help meet Millennials’ need for fast-paced communication and collaboration throughout all levels of an organization.

Create Clear Career Pathways

Almost 60 percent of job changers moved to a new company because they saw better career opportunities there than in their previous role, according to a 2015 survey by LinkedIn.7

To engage and retain the best talent, companies must be upfront about the various pathways to success with both job candidates and established employees. Millennial workers want this information communicated openly and repeatedly, without their having to ask or spend much time researching. It is a good practice to share promotions occurring within the organization on the company career website, as well as internally, so current and prospective employees understand there are future opportunities to work towards.

It’s Time to Engage Job Hoppers

Ignoring job hoppers within and without your organization is outdated and detrimental to your business. Recruiters and hiring managers must be trained to assess job hopping candidates with an open mind that doesn’t equate multiple jobs with a lack of loyalty.

Future-thinking companies are engaging job hoppers by building talent communities in anticipation of upcoming hiring needs. Using social media tools such as private LinkedIn and Facebook groups, recruiters can establish pipelines of talent interested in job alerts and future opportunities.

If your organization still needs a nudge towards fully understanding the job-hopping generation, maybe this will help provide a sense of urgency—Generation Z is now entering the workforce to add another layer to multi-generation hiring.

Need recruitment assistance? Contact Hudson.


1 Casselman, Ben. “Enough Already About the Job Hopping Millennials.” FiveThirtyEight. Web. 5 May 2015, accessed 4 Oct 2017.
2 Thompson, Derek. “Quit Your Job.’ The Atlantic. Web. 5 Nov 2014.
3 Millennials: The Job-Hopping Generation. Gallup Business Journal.
4 Overfelt, Maggie. “Millennial Employees are a Lot More Loyal Than Their Job-Hopping Stereotype.” CNBC. Web. 11 May 2017.
5 Benson, Tracy. “Motivating Millennials Takes More than Flexible Work Policies.” Harvard Business Review. Web. 11 Feb 2016.
6 Overfelt, Maggie. “What Millennials Want Most of All When They Start a New Job.” CNBC. Web. 21 April 2017.
7 Zimmerman, Kaytie. “Millennials, Stop Apologizing for Job-Hopping” Forbes. Web. 7 June 2017.

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