It used to be that if one did not hold a job for at least a year or two, he or she would be branded a “job hopper” – someone who could not keep a position. Dan Schwabel authored an article for Forbes online about the high rate of turnover from younger employers as being the new norm. This is an issue for companies as the cost of hiring is cost prohibitive when compared to retaining and developing existing employees.
The article references information from a 2008 Experience report, and I would venture that the rate quoted (70% of new employees leave their jobs within the first two years) is still accurate, if not a bit higher due to the economic uncertainty of the past few years. A recruiter at a major airplane manufacturer indicated that after about two years they have retention issues as younger employees want to relocate closer to their immediate families. So, are employees who leave after a couple of years still branded as “Job Hoppers” or an employee who is looking for bigger and/or better roles?
The answer is not black and white. Many in the corporate sector switch jobs every two years for upward career movement or career progression, and this is the new norm. Staying in one’s role for more than a few years can actually hurt one’s career (primarily true for those early in their careers) as the corporate sector may question why an individual has not progressed into more significant roles/responsibilities.
The danger of being branded a “job hopper” is when one has several job function or industry changes in a short time. Working as a teacher for a year, then paralegal for 6 months, then onto an assistant account executive at an ad agency for under a year; this type of career jumping will cause future employers to question one’s ability to stay in a role. What this type of jumping communicates is that an applicant jumps into a career field without being truly interested in the role, and thus leaves the role after a short period (after the honeymoon period is over).