Jul 5, 2018

Are Millennials Job Hopping or Strategically Shifting Their Careers?

What CEO's should understand about millennial job changing behaviors and the best practices they should follow when recruiting them into their company.

Two employers checking curriculum vitae of new candidate

Those born between 1980 and 1996 make up the millennial generation and have been cited as the most likely group of individuals in the workforce to be open to new career opportunities.

Are millennials job hopping or strategically shifting their careers? In this article, we cover:

  1. The reasons why millennials are changing jobs more frequently than any other generation
  2. Things to consider when reviewing the resume of a millennial
  3. Five tips for employing the millennial generation

According to Gallup, 21% of millennials say they’ve changed jobs within the past year, a figure that is three times greater than those outside of this generation. One CareerBuilder survey showed that by age 35, about 25% of young employees would have worked five jobs.

Perhaps it is a bit of both. Some people figure that millennials change jobs for a higher salary. Legal Technology Solutions (LTS) reports that at least an 8 to 10% pay increase is average in a healthy market, and on the higher end of the pay range, 20% can be realistic.

Millennials are more likely than other generations to make a career move if they feel the job isn’t the right fit. Because millennials are also getting married and having children later than other generations, they are not tied down by the responsibilities that may have forced other workers to stay in a job 20 years ago.

According to a survey by Robert Half, the stigma about job-hopping is also lifting. The majority of professionals (64 percent) consider job changes every year to be beneficial, especially when a higher salary is part of the mix. Four years ago, only 45 percent of workers had that response.

Millennials consider job-hopping the new normal. A Robert Half survey showed that 75 percent of the 18- to 34-year-old respondents see rewards in changing jobs.

Some of the reasons millennials change jobs often are:

Pay Increase

According to 31 percent of respondents to a Robert Half survey, this is why a millennial changed jobs.

Skill Diversification

Many millennials want to expand their skills and learn new types of software, new job responsibilities, and new coding languages.

Increase in Responsibility

Sometimes, twenty-somethings will change jobs when the new opportunity offers more responsibility and a chance for upward mobility.


Because millennials are marrying later, they are open to relocation possibilities that a new job may offer.

There are some fields in which millennials possess special skills: such as computer programming and data science. Workers of other generations may not be able to keep up with all the new technology that these millennials have at their fingertips. As a result, these young tech workers are in high demand and it is not unusual to see them change jobs every two years.

Tips for Employers

Hiring the Millennial Generation

If you are an employer who is looking at a millennial’s job application, and are surprised by the number of job changes, here are some items to look for:

  • Determine whether the moves resulted in more money, which might justify them.
  • Find out if the candidate missed out on any opportunities by switching from one job to another. How do you find out? Ask.
  • Did the position meet the candidate’s expectations? Again, ask.
  • Consider what are the most important qualities you seek in a prospective employee: drive, initiative, innovation? If your candidate possesses these qualities, there is no reason why the job changes should adversely affect your decision.

5 Recommendations for Employing the Millennial Generation

The way you interact with your employees sets the stage for the culture of your organization. Here are some important things to practice when dealing with employees, especially those of the millennial generation:

  1. Challenge them. Include these individuals in brainstorming activities to gain their insight and ideas. Doing so will keep them engaged and feeling valued.
  2. Develop them. Establish training and mentorship programs to enable your team to advance to the next career level within your organization.
  3. Talk to them. Do you know their personal and professional goals and ambitions? If not, you should invest in your people by learning more about their goals and how you can help them achieve them.
  4. Acknowledge them. Providing reward and recognition for a job well-done can make all the difference with your employees and keep them dedicated. Often times, these initiatives are low or no-cost to the employer.
  5. Provide flexibility and benefits. Working from home on occasion or full-time (depending on the role), is one benefit that also allows flexibility. Outside of the normal company benefits, consider what you can offer to your employees to keep them engaged. For example, some companies offer shorter work days on Fridays, paid time off to volunteer, free lunch, etc.

Have you been suspicious of frequent job changes on resumes in the past, or overlooked a candidate entirely due to this? If job changing today is the new normal for millennials, don’t eliminate a pool of qualified candidates based on a business perception that may not apply today.

At Kaplan Executive Search we recommend pursuing all candidates that are a good match for your company.

If you are considering getting help with recruiting your next COO or other leadership team member, please give us a call today. To learn more about the executive search process, review our article on How Executive Search Firms Work for Their Clients.

Next Steps:

  1. Succession planning and your employees: Preparing for the baby boomer retirement surge.
  2. Recruit top talent by defining your employee value proposition.
  3. Why your employer brand strength matters in the recruitment and hiring process.



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