Want to earn more money? This data says don’t quit your job yet

Should I stay or should I go?
Should I stay or should I go?
Image: Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji
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For today’s workforce, the temptation to jump quickly from one role to the next has significant appeal, whether it’s the instant gratification of a signing bonus, a title change, or a longer-term salary bump. However, candidates that frequently job hop are becoming less appealing to employers.

Job-hopping is widely accepted in today’s US job landscape—some experts even encourage it. According to a recent report from Gallup, 21% of US millennials say they’ve changed jobs within the past year, which is more than triple the workforce as a whole. But its advantages could be short-lived.

Companies are becoming increasingly aware of the negative impact that employee turnover has on their business: Finding replacement talent is not only a burden on companies, but recruiting requires a heavy lift in time and resources, which also ends up becoming very costly over time. Gallup estimates that millennial turnover alone costs the US economy $30.5 billion annually.

Sticking in a job isn’t just good for the bosses though: It could also be better for your career. According to Hired’s recent data, we’ve found that software engineers who stay more than two years at a company are in higher demand and receive higher salary offers than those who don’t. In fact, the typical long-tenured software engineer receives 88% more requests for interviews, 65% more job offers, and 11% more in salary compared to someone who has been at their job less than two years. Organizations are also less likely to invest in the recruiting, onboarding, and training costs for a candidate with a track record of job-hopping.

The takeaway for companies

It’s important for candidates to understand the impact chronic job-hopping could have on their careers, but what can employers do to retain teams and avoid attrition?

At their core, most job hoppers are looking for new opportunities to gain different experiences and develop new skills, not just score a higher salary. Companies are beginning to recognize this and some have developed new programs that offer continued learning opportunities.

For instance, Hootsuite offers rotational programs that provide employees the opportunity to try new roles within the company. Google has a similar program, in addition to an employee-to-employee education curriculum designed to further promote a culture of learning. These types of initiatives provide a way for top talent to expand their skillsets and escape the monotony of their day-to-day roles without having to leave the company. Research shows that employees who have opportunities for professional development are better engaged and more likely to stay with their company longer.

Companies could also refocus their employee retention efforts on projects that have a long-term impact. Connecting individual goals to the company’s mission can give employees a sense of fulfillment and meaning. Additionally, material “perks”—like ping pong tables, free meals, or even corporate jets—are flashy, but they don’t necessarily attract the right talent or contribute to retention. Instead, companies should implement benefits and management styles that will enhance the quality of life for their employees, such as remote-work policies, project-based work built for flexible hours, and professional development.

A recent survey asked professionals how much longer they saw themselves at their current company. While only 37% of professionals saw themselves staying at their jobs for three years or longer, what differentiated these long-term staff members from the rest of the pack was that they identified themselves as “purpose-oriented.” This suggests that companies should give their employees a sense of purpose in order to keep them happy.

While the days of 9-to-5 jobs, lifetime-employer pensions, and 40-year tenures are probably over, switching jobs year after year may not ultimately be the best way to grow your career. A new adventure or a small salary increase may seem appealing in the short-term, but employees should stop to consider what they can gain from their current company (and the impact chronic job-hopping can have on their future career options). Likewise, companies need to stress purpose, professional development, and meaningful perks in order to attract and retain a loyal workforce.