Job Hopping: Why Employees Disengage From the Workplace
Sun, April 18, 2021

Job Hopping: Why Employees Disengage From the Workplace

Younger generations are notoriously known for job-hopping, or changing jobs within a short amount of time. But they aren't the only one who moves from workplace to workplace—even baby boomers and Gen Xers sometimes engage in this practice / Photo by: primagefactory via 123RF


Younger generations are notoriously known for job-hopping, or changing jobs within a short amount of time. But they aren't the only one who moves from workplace to workplace—even baby boomers and Gen Xers sometimes engage in this practice. Millennials are also as likely as any generation to stay in the workplace.

So the question now is what forces people to find a new job on their own volition? And could this practice be justified in the future?

The Case for Millennials

Since they are more known to job hop, it's worth looking into why millennials don't stay at their jobs for too long. Data from analytics and advisory company Gallup shows that only 29% of millennials in the US are engaged at work, with a national engagement average of 34%.

This low turn out indicates that younger generations are less inspired, unmotivated, and emotionally unattached in their workplace compared to their older counterparts—giving them a reason to leave.

These young workers are also three times more likely to report changing jobs in the past year while 10% are less likely to expect to be in their current work in a year. The Gallup data also indicates that most will be looking for a new job while others are open to any opportunity that may come along.

Despite these results, millennials are also as likely as anyone to stay loyal to their current job—if they get what they need from it. These needs include:

• Learning and growing opportunities, which 59% of young workers say are important when they apply for a job.

• A sense of purpose, given that millennials' motivation is banked on mission and purpose. Only 30% of them said they plan to stay at their current position for at least another year even if they don't understand their organization's purpose.

• High-quality management, which includes quality of both the manager and the management, is also important for most millennial job seekers (58%). Gallup says millennials see their occupation as their life, so having a bad manager will drive them away.

• Opportunities for promotions are also a must for millennials (50%, compared to 42% of Gen X and 40% of baby boomers) possibly due to their lower net worth and higher student debt.

These are the same things that every other worker of any generation workers, it's just millennials want it more and are less likely to wait to get them. Gallup says superiors who focus on employee growth and advancement, who hire managers for their talent and are aware of their company's purpose can successfully engage millennials.

"Those who do will keep millennials," the analytics company adds. "Those who don't will train another company's employees—and wonder why millennials just won't stay."

Money Isn’t Always the Answer

Some companies raise the wage of their employees to keep the talent in their workplace, but raises aren't always enough to change an employee's mind when they want to switch jobs.

While employers may use cash to compensate for employee concerns, such actions can backfire on them if the issues are much deeper than the figures on their workers' paycheque.

"Every situation is different," Craig Libis, CEO of Executive Recruiting Consultants in Dell Rapids, told Forbes. "Money is usually 4 or 5 on the list."

There are three common reasons why people aren't satisfied with their jobs: 1. Feeling like the company doesn't value or appreciate the employees' talents; 2. Not having the freedom and space to create and make their fullest contribution; and 3. The lack of being developed and given opportunities for advancement.

Forbes says the last item can present a challenge for both the employers and employees. The feeling of being stuck can lead to a feeling of helplessness that can affect other aspects of life, which may bury the main cause of the problem.

However, realizing that the irritation stems from the mundane work routine can help a person address the problem directly.

"People change jobs in a high employment environment when they are bored or frustrated or they haven’t been promoted or gotten a raise that they feel is worthy," Sonya Sigler, CEO of PractiGal, told Forbes.

Sigler said the frustration emerges when an employee has been in a job for a while, leading to boredom no matter how good they are at it or how much they did for their current job.

"They are looking for a challenge, whether it is at their current company or another one," she explained.

The paradigm shift that comes to understanding the reason for their frustration and what's wrong with their careers is what prompts employees to search for jobs based on their purpose rather than the wage.

Nicole Gravagna, Executive Coach at NeuroEQ, said people often switch jobs because they feel there's something else better for them—and they're usually right.

Justifying the Hoppers

With the given reasons why people move from one job to the next, recruiters now see job hoppers as professionals seeking the right environment for growth and advancement.

But how many blips on one's can resumé is too much to be considered a recruitment risk? Well, it depends on certain factors like age, skill, and position an employee is vying for. The usual tenure for applicants is at least one year, but higher positions like those at the executive-level prefer more tenured applicants.

There's not much an employee can do about their job history, especially if they are full of abrupt changes. It's not advisable to fake one's resumé either to save themselves from having to explain these past blips.

Another Forbes article says an applicant should be honest and find a proper way to explain their career history to a potential employer.

"Start with a well-written resume and cover letter that share your career history, and then aim to ease their worries about you by preparing answers to questions they might ask about your job changes during the interview," the business magazine advises.

"Talk about the contributions you’ve made to previous employers, highlighting money-generating or profit-saving accomplishments with facts and figures when possible."

It adds that through enough effort into networking and job searching, job hoppers can find the right job and environment for them to meet their needs.