Kurt Jekulski, Senior Managing Director of the U.S. business for Michael Page, said something to me early in my time here at Page that has stuck with me whenever I think about the changing world-view of job hopping.
"A rolling stone gathers no moss."
Kurt was referring to the fact that although you may see short-term benefits from hopping - you will likely be losing in the long term from not establishing yourself and proving value over an extended period of time at a single firm.
As the millennial generation begins to enter Senior Leadership roles, a differentiator for many will be their reliability. As I wrote last week, Generation Z is even more likely than the Millennials to leave a role.
Those that can offer stability and consistent results over a sustained period of time at one single firm will become more and more of a rarity in the workforce, offering a significant competitive advantage to others who move frequently.
Considering that the majority of the C-Suite and Senior Leadership in corporate America still belongs to Generation X, one must consider how their track record will be viewed by a generation that had significantly different standards for time in role.
Time in Role Trends & Hiring at the Senior Level
The average time in role for a Millennial (25-40 years old) is 2 years and 9 months.
The average time in role for a Gen X (41-56) is nearly double, at 5 years and 2 months.
As a recruiter working with clients to help with their hiring processes, one common theme in the gauge for potential of a candidate is the track record of time in their roles.
For Senior-level searches, if the candidate has been with their current firm for less than 1 year, there is a very low likelihood that candidate is selected for interview. (Entry level & Associate level positions offer more flexibility when it comes to time in role)
Additionally, if a candidate has moved firms several times in recent years, often times hiring managers will push back to interview on leadership roles due to the lack of confidence they have in the candidate staying long-term.
For many younger Millennials and Gen Z, senior leadership roles are not on the top of their mind. At this stage of their career journey, it is more important to find the career path or industry that they enjoy and can see themselves in long-term.
How to think about Job-Hopping in your own career.
As a millennial who has made 3 job moves in the last 4 years, I have experienced first hand the benefits, and the consequences of moving jobs frequently.
Benefits of job-hopping can include higher raises in compensation and increased level of responsibility. There is no question that upward mobility in these two areas are most easily obtained by moving firms.
However as I mentioned previously, it is important to be aware of the long term impacts and visuals these moves will bring to your resume.
It's also important to consider what industry you are in when making a job move.
In the Accounting industry for example:
Often times accounting professionals start their career at a Public Accounting firm, such as "The Big 4" (Deloitte, PWC, EY, KPMG) - these firms are consulting firms that handle the accounting work for outside firms, and often have the most prestigious clients such as JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, etc.
However there are hundreds of smaller public accounting firms that still offer excellent work experience, and I often see candidates move around these firms for higher pay, title, etc. These moves from a recruiter's perspective are typical, and easy to understand when breaking down experience.
The "Big Move" as I would call it, comes when a Public Accountant makes their move to an "industry" role, aka an internal accounting position at another company.
Believe it or not, many clients of mine look for candidates who have hopped from public accounting into an industry role, as it shows they have been adaptable and can learn and apply their skills from prior experiences.
The catch here is that once candidates have made their industry move, many hiring managers of mine like to see candidates stay in that industry role for at least 2 years to consider their candidacy.
So what are the key take-aways?
Job Hopping early in your career is this easiest way to increase your pay + responsibility
Understand your industry's typical career progression when considering making a move
Recognize the relationship between short term gain vs. long term consequences of moves you make as you gain more seniority in your industry.
Keep in mind like all things in life, there is no black and white answer when it comes to decisions on job-hopping.
You never know when a once in a lifetime role may throw you off your course. I write this blog as a general rule of thumb for candidates and clients who ask me about my thoughts when it comes to job-hopping, and the industry standards that are associated with it.
And if you are ready to make a job move yourself- let's talk, I might have just the role for you.
I specialize in the recruitment of Finance and Accounting roles within the Private Equity, Hedge Fund and Banking industry in NYC. If you or someone you know is looking to make a move, feel free to shoot me an email at:
or connect with me at:
And be sure to share and subscribe to the blog to stay up to date on all things career, personal finance and investing!