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How job hopping can actually help your career

Sharon Florentine | Feb. 24, 2016
Job hopping is no longer taboo. Many job-seekers are finding they can achieve a higher salary, learn new skills and expand their expertise by changing jobs every few years.

Job-hopping no longer holds the same negative connotation it once did. In fact, switching jobs every few years has become the new normal for many IT professionals looking to add new skills, experience life at a cutting-edge startup and add to their paychecks. As the IT skills gap continues to put pressure on hiring organizations to find and retain talent, more and more IT professionals are being headhunted and encouraged to leave their current jobs to explore new opportunities.

In the driver's seat

IT workers understand that the current economic climate puts them in control of their career progression, their salaries and their ability to ask for and demand better titles, greater benefits and a generous pay package just by moving to different companies every few years, says Frank Dadah, managing director, Finance, Accounting & Administrative practice with executive search, staffing and management consultancy WinterWyman. And for millennials, there's no other way. In fact, a Deloitte Global survey, the consulting and business services firm's fifth annual Deloitte Millennial Survey 2016, conducted last September and October of nearly 7,700 millennials from 29 countries, revealed that 44 percent of them would like to leave their current employers within the next two years, a figure which increases to 66 percent when the timeframe is extended to 2020.

"Employers are not seeing job-hopping as a negative anymore. As long as there's a reasonable reason for talent to make a move and their references check out, it's really not the scarlet letter it used to be. IT professionals are using job-hopping to pick up new skills, expand their experience and work in different verticals within IT. Even C-level executives are open to making moves if they feel an opportunity may be promising," says Dadah.

Job-hopping's also increasingly common in the start-up world, Dadah says. Many IT pros proudly refer to themselves as "serial entrepreneurs" if they've founded and run many different start-ups, especially if those have gone on to successful IPOs or to become household names, he says.

"In IT, job-hopping can be an indicator of a positive trait -- someone who likes to take calculated risks and be on the cutting edge of technology innovation. It's a personality trait that's valuable; someone who can say, 'I love the energy and the atmosphere in startup culture. I like to drive these new ideas and new applications of technology,'" says Jayne Mattson, senior vice president at career management and transition services consulting firm Keystone Associates.

What motivates you?

With employees in the driver's seat and the taboos around job-hopping slipping away, job seekers need to focus on identifying their motivations, both for accepting a job and for leaving it, Mattson says.


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