For years, people have accused millennials of being restless in their careers—moving from one role to the next voluntarily and without the hope of moving up the ladder in a single organization.
Turns out, it’s kind of true. Gallup released a report citing 21% of millennials have changed jobs in the past year.
Sure, 79% stayed in their jobs, but this percentage is still three times higher than any other generation studied in the report.
Why job hopping is the new normal for millennials
Whether inspired by a desire not to be stuck in an unfulfilling or overly stressful job, or by the seemingly endless layoffs at startups, media outlets and tech companies, millennials are clear about their goals and willing to make changes in order to reach them. Here are a few additional reasons why they are leading the charge for change.
One of the main reasons why people job hop is for a wage increase. Many workers feel like they are not being paid what they’re worth and that getting any kind of raise at their current workplace is a struggle.
Job hopping may secure upward movement with higher salaries and responsibilities. In fact, according to Forbes, those who regularly change jobs can make up to 50% more than those who remain at the same company for years.
The traditional nine-to-five in-person expectation is no longer a good fit for many people, particularly millennials and Gen Z workers who prioritize quality of life over work trajectory and value flexible work arrangements to support their lifestyle and mental health.
This often means they’ll opt for remote or hybrid work opportunities ahead of in-office positions. Companies that fail to adapt to these changing needs risk losing talented employees to competitors that can support a more flexible work environment.
In the past, job hopping has been seen as a sign of flakiness or a lack of commitment, but it is now being viewed as a competitive advantage. Those who job hop prove they’re adaptable, flexible, risk-tolerant and ready to learn new skills.
Changing jobs can be an incredible opportunity to continuously learn and grow in new areas and gain experience at a quicker pace than by staying in one job. This can be especially important for those who feel stagnant in their current role and are no longer motivated or feeling challenged by the work.
Promoting institutional change
For younger millennials and Gen Z especially, working for a company with similar goals and values is important. If there is a misalignment, they may work to spark change inside the company for a time, but if there is no demonstrable shift then it can lead to dissatisfaction and disengagement.
Companies that prioritize sustainability, diversity and inclusion are more likely to attract and retain young employees. These workers are more likely to be vocal about their values and to hold their employers accountable for not living up to their mission or values.
Everyone wants to feel empowered at work, but this is especially important to younger workers who value autonomy and seek purpose in their work. According to Deloitte, 65% of millennials and Gen Z who feel empowered at work stay with their employer for more than five years.
Many young workers are looking to work for companies with leadership styles that emphasize collaboration and positive feedback. They want their voice to be heard and the freedom to make decisions and mistakes.
Building skills and networks
In the current North American job market, there are many benefits to changing jobs more frequently than in the past. One benefit is it allows workers to gain new skills and experiences quicker than they would have by staying at one job. A diversified skill set makes workers more valuable to future employers and ultimately sets them up for higher paying opportunities.
Another benefit of switching companies or roles is that it can expand professional networks exponentially. By working at different companies and meeting new people, there are natural moments to make new connections and discover opportunities through every interaction.
Job hopping allows workers to focus on creating greater work-life balance and overall satisfaction and well-being. With the rapid advancement of technology and ever-changing job market, today’s in-demand skills may not be in the future. By gaining a broad range of experiences and not being afraid to try new things, the younger generation of workers are setting themselves up for whatever the future holds.