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Millennials job hopping?

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By: Larry Alton – forbes.com – January 22, 2018

Millennials Aren’t Job Hopping, Young People Are: 5 Things To Keep In Mind

We all know the stereotypes about Millennials. They’re entitled. They’re obsessed with technology. They’re immature and spoiled. They’re noncommittal, job hopping from employer to employer because they can’t settle down.

It’s unproductive to speculate about these stereotypes, in part because it’s unfair to ascribe a quality to an entire generation of people, and in part because there’s little evidence to back up these claims—or at least, most of them.

Looking at data from Gallup, it would seem that Millennials can’t escape their atypical tendency to switch jobs. About 60% of Millennials are currently open to a new job opportunity and are by far the most likely generation to switch jobs. To support that, 21% of Millennials in 2016 reported switching jobs within the past year, compared to roughly 7% of gen Xers and other non-Millennials. Gallup also accuses the Millennial generation’s excessive job hopping of costing the United States economy more than $30 billion a year.
There’s strong evidence that Millennials are job hoppers, but here’s the thing—all these data don’t account for the age of their generational groups. That is to say, the young people of the Millennial generation are being compared to the older people of non-Millennial generations. The reality is, Millennials may not be job hopping any more than the generations that came before them.

The Real Statistics

Pew Research attempted to compensate for this difference with a recent study comparing data of modern Millennials (circa 2016) to their gen X counterparts, when they were of the same age (circa 2000). According to that study, the percentage of 18- to 35-year-old employees who stayed with their employers for 13 months or more was 63.4% for Millennials in 2016 and 59.9% for gen Xers in 2000. On top of that, the percentage of the same groups who had been with their employers for five years or more were 22% for Millennials in 2016 and 21.8% for gen Xers in 2000. The effect was even more pronounced among college-educated groups.

What does that mean? This research implies that Millennial turnover and employer loyalty is comparable to, if not slightly better than, at least one generation that came before them—as long as you compensate for the age discrepancies.

Of course, this study isn’t perfect either—it’s comparing two very different time periods, and its snapshot of gen Xers doesn’t fall squarely in line with its snapshot of Millennials (that is to say, the gen X sample contains older gen Xers, and a handful of Millennials in the mix). But it still demonstrates that Millennials aren’t the egregious job hoppers they’re illustrated to be.

What To Keep In Mind

So why is this important to know? For Millennial professionals in the audience, it’s probably a sigh of relief that there’s one more stereotype about your generation that isn’t supported with empirical evidence. It’s also important to note that job hopping is common among Millennials, and you shouldn’t be ashamed of seeking multiple opportunities to find the career you want.

As you proceed, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

1. Experience is a good thing. Every job you get is more experience under your belt, and working in more positions with more coworkers and more employers is only going to give you more diverse experiences—and a broader perspective you can carry throughout your career. Take something away from every job you hold.
2. Commitment is a two-way street. Leaving a job doesn’t necessarily mean an employee lacks commitment or loyalty; it can also mean the employer isn’t treating you fairly, or that the environment isn’t appropriate for you. Commitment is a two-way street, so don’t put pressure on yourself to stick around with an inferior employer.
3. Contacts are more important than any one opportunity. If and when you leave, don’t burn bridges. The contacts you make at each job are probably more valuable than the job itself. You never know when you’ll need a new partner, referral, recommendation, client, or even employee in the future.
4. The gig economy is alive and well. The economy is thriving on part-time positions, side hustles, and temporary gigs, so it might be in your best interest to job hop—at least for the time being. Job hopping means opening yourself up to more opportunities, and taking advantage of more chances for work and experience.
5. Talent, experience, and attitude matter more than duration. The length of time you spend at a job doesn’t matter as much as the talent and attitude you had while you were there—and the experience you take with it—in the same way that the length of a movie doesn’t predict its overall quality. Focus on making the most of all your jobs and career experiences, rather than stressing over the number of jobs you’ve had, or how long you spent there.

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Source: Millennials Aren’t Job Hopping, Young People Are: 5 Things To Keep In Mind