Why Job-Hopping May (Still) Raise Red Flags

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In today’s competitive job market, candidates often find themselves at a crossroads: should they stay loyal to a single company and build their career over a number of years, or embrace more rapid package growth by moving frequently when the chance arrives?


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Recently, this question sparked heated debate on social media, with many saying the age of loyalty to one company is over, and it’s everyone for themselves in the corporate world. But it’s not that simple, and both companies and candidates need to keep a few factors in mind when considering the issue of jumpy resumes, a leadership expert says.

“Moving to a new role in a new company often comes with a financial boost. Negotiating a competitive package becomes easier when you’re in demand, and the allure of exponential financial gains can be hard to resist. But while job hopping may seem advantageous initially, there’s a tipping point, and you can soon find that too many frequent moves have made you unhireable, and unattractive for the important roles. Essentially, after too many short-lived tenures, you could find yourself running out of road,” says Advaita Naidoo, Africa MD at Jack Hammer, Africa’s largest executive search firm.

It is certainly understandable that in our current economic climate, people would want to choose financially advantageous moves whenever they present themselves, but doing so without considering the bigger picture is not an optimal and likely not a sustainable long-term career strategy

One of the major concerns, from the company’s point of view, of hiring a candidate with a resume demonstrating too-frequent moves from one company to another, is the issue of onboarding cost.

“Companies invest significant time and resources in searching, signing and onboarding new hires. When a candidate has a history of quick departures, employers will rightly be concerned about whether their investment in a candidate will ultimately be futile if the chances are good that the employee may leave after a short stint.”

 

Candidates should also consider whether long-term stability may be compromised by short-term gains.

“While job hopping can lead to immediate financial gains in the form of higher salaries and better benefits, it may come at the expense of long-term stability,” says Naidoo.

Employers value employees who contribute meaningfully and grow within the company. A track record of short-term moves suggests a narrow focus on personal gain over meaningful contribution and growth. This is why finding the right balance for your career is crucial. Strategic career moves involve assessing each opportunity’s value, and determining whether experience gained from staying at a company might not in the long run outweigh chasing higher compensation without building substantial tenure.

And while an employee may be able to justify making multiple career moves in order to gain diverse experience, they also need to be able to demonstrate that they stayed long enough to make an impact in each of the roles, Naidoo says.

EMPLOYERS

Although candidates need to carefully weigh up the pros and cons of regular movements, employers also need to be aware that many employees today will more readily walk away if they feel under-valued and an enticing opportunity arises.

“It is therefore essential for companies to consider how they can create an environment where their best people see a future. Employers bear a responsibility to foster growth and ensure fair and competitive remuneration. A workplace that encourages skills development, recognises achievements, and provides opportunities for advancement retains top talent.

If a company can’t offer good experience, a good culture, a path of progress and ongoing market-related increases, high-value employees today are much more likely to move on to better opportunities.

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