For those acquainted with Italy’s circumstances, the job hopper may seem like a mythical creature, a unicorn working a job market with an unemployment rate of 10%, which stretches to 31% for young people. Over all, around 2.6 million Italians are out work (according to Italian Statistics Agency figures for September 2018). Among them are those who see moving from one job to another as a way of obtaining a higher salary. There are not so many of those, to tell the truth, because job hopping works better in areas where the unemployment rate is low and there is not enough labour to meet demand. In the USA, for example, there are around 6 million jobseekers to 6.7 million vacancies. And moving from one job to another within a short space of time (usually a couple of years) can result in a +30% salary increase. To the extent that, says a report from HR Robert Half, 64% of US workers are job hoppers.
Of the 10,455 young people belonging to Generation Y (born between 1983 and 1994), 43% are prepared to leave their job within two years
So while we are still waiting for the situation to improve, what Italian job hoppers have in common with their starred-and-striped peers is generational: Millennials are the group most dedicated to this practice. A Deloitte study found that, of the 10,455 young people belonging to Generation Y (born between 1983 and 1994), 43% are prepared to leave their job within two years, compared to 28% who envisage staying with the company beyond five. This is not – as one would think, given that basis – fuelled solely by financial motivations: ethics also make a big difference. Just 17% of those surveyed believed that the company for which they work conducts its business in an ethical way, while 16% stated that their objective is purely focused on their personal accounts, without much regard for the company.
A similar study carried out by Gallup has shown that 21% of Millennials have changed jobs in the last two years: a percentage three times higher than that of non-Millennials, which generates a workforce turnover equating to 30.5 billion dollars every year. The same study says the cause behind job hopping is only partly financial. Millennials who job hop do so because they do not find their work engaging and stimulating: only three in ten young people feel an emotional and behavioural attachment to their place of work, while 55% experienced disaffection towards their job.
It’s a double-edged sword: experience in several fields can improve and widen your skill set but, at the same time, you will struggle to lift your knowledge of the sector to a high level
So, given the right conditions, do job hoppers, really have an advantage? Website The Muse has tried to answer that question, laying down the pros and cons of this practice in its article titled, “Here's the Truth About How Job-Hopping Affects Your Career”. In various fields, it can certainly improve your experience and expand your skills but, at the same time, you will struggle to lift your knowledge of the sector to a high level.
The same can be said of your network of contacts: swapping between different work places allows you to establish a wide pool of acquaintances, which itself can generate various job opportunities (four in ten people find employment through personal connections); but it can also cause various problems. For your CV, however, upping the frequency with which you change jobs is undoubtedly a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it gives the impression of a motivated, flexible, adaptable person; on the other, it does not offer your potential employer much of a guarantee for your loyalty (or for any investments they may make in your training and personal development). It is no coincidence that, in a job market such as this, investments in human resources – financing for start-ups that use technology to search for staff – reached 2.4 billion dollars in 2015. Not to mention digital giants such as Microsoft who, catching a whiff of the self-generating business, bought LinkedIn in 2016 for 26 million dollars.