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Job switching or job hopping?


When it comes to switching jobs, how often is too often? Surprisingly, HR professionals are a lot more forgiving of those who frequently switch jobs than the job seekers themselves.

A recent SHRM/Wall Street Journal survey found that most HR professionals defined a job hopper as someone who changed jobs once a year, 51 percent, or once every two years, 34 percent. Most job seekers defined job hopping as changing jobs every two years, 45 percent, or every three years, 25 percent.

In a tight labour market, both job seekers and those who hire readily admit that money has a lot to do with the reasons for change. Nearly half of both groups agree that the pursuit of higher compensation is the primary reason people change jobs often. To a lesser degree, reasons for change included new challenges, change of environment or escaping a bad boss or colleague.

With the current shortage of skilled workers, job seekers are so confident when offers are made, that 84 percent believe they have room to negotiate. More than eight out of 10 HR professionals, 82 percent, surveyed by SHRM last summer also expected to receive counter offers regarding salary and benefits.

Cash is also primary attraction for job candidates. A recent survey by Buck Consultants shows that 75 percent of companies are now using hiring bonuses to attract top talent and another 6 percent are considering such monetary incentives. Almost 45 percent of firms surveyed by Buck Consultants use retention bonuses. Hiring bonuses are most common in finance and banking where over 90 percent of firms use them.

"With a relatively low national unemployment rate, employers are using bonuses to attract and retain talented employees," says Paul Gavejian, a Buck compensation consultant.

When it comes to job hopping, by any definition, SHRM's poll found that frequent job switching was not viewed favorably by either group. It was perceived as a sign of unreliability and lack of focus rather than an indication of greater flexibility or broader work experience.

According to one HR consultant, "Both those seeking jobs and those doing the hiring know job hopping is not a win for either party in the long run." Taking time to make a significant contribution to an organisation is an important part of any worker's professional and personal development, she said.


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