It is increasingly uncommon for an employee to stay at the same company for his or her entire career or even for many consecutive years.
According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, “As of January 2012, the median time that wage and salary workers in the U.S. had been with their current employers was just 4.6 years.” Some of this could be related to the economy, but a recovering recession alone is not enough to explain this career development trend. Why aren’t people staying at their jobs? According to the article, “Clearly, statistics show the majority of employees at every level are unhappy enough in their current positions to be actively or at least passively considering new jobs.” The problem is that there are significant short-term and long-term costs to employing this career development strategy that advocates jumping ship rather than building seniority
Benefits for Staying Over the Long Haul
If you continue to change jobs every time the going gets tough, then you are likely to miss out on the benefits of seniority, which can be far-ranging from financial benefits to increased freedom and flexibility. If you continue to start over in new roles at new companies, you lose some of your personal effectiveness as you figure out the learning curve and settle into a new job without seniority and experience by your side. As the newbie, you have to put in your time before you start to gain experience, trust, flexibility, and other desirable job characteristics.
2. Better Benefits
The longer you stay with a company, the more sick leave, vacation time, and salary bonuses you are likely to accrue. There are times when a new company will offer to match the financial package of your current position if they are trying to court you, but in general, starting a new job means starting closer to square one from a financial perspective. For this reason alone, there can be a significant cost to job hopping.
When you first get hired for a new job, you most likely don’t spend a great deal of time asking for special favors, time off, and the like, because those generally aren’t things that companies are enthusiastic about offering new employees. The longer you are with a company, though, the more likely you are to have the trust and rapport with your boss that would allow you to work from home regularly or rearrange your schedule to accommodate your daughter’s soccer games.
If you want opportunities to change, learn, and grow in your career development, you are more likely to have mobility and opportunity in your current company. Your personal effectiveness is already familiar, you already have relationships of trust with clients and coworkers, and you are just more likely in general to opportunities for continuing education and promotion come your way.