Talk to your typical baby boomer and they’ll have likely spent a decent portion of their life in the same job, or, at the very least, the same industry. Job-hopping – the act of moving from one position to another in relatively quick succession – has been frowned upon in the past, but are things changing?

The data to prove it

Research shows that today’s young workforce, predominantly the UK’s ‘generation Y’, are much more likely to change jobs than their parents were. In a recent study, human resources organisation ADP found that nearly half (47 per cent) of Britain’s working adults are planning to move elsewhere in the next three years. For perspective, the figure across the rest of Europe is 34 per cent.

Add to this the fact that only 17 per cent of respondents said they’d be happy to spend the rest of their career with their current employer and it’s easy to see that attitudes are evolving.

Traditional concerns

It’s not difficult to see why job-hopping might spark concerns in employers’ minds. You, the prospective employee, have the necessary skills and characteristics to make a difference, but for how long will you stick around? A tendency to move jobs certainly suggests that you’re out for yourself, with no particular loyalty to the company that pays your wage.

This can worry an employer for one simple reason: recruitment is always seen as an investment. This company is investing in you as a new employee – it must pay for the time and effort that goes into the recruitment process, as well as the training and development that’ll make you valuable in the long run. Should you leave soon after you’re up to speed, the return on that original spend is limited.

The other side of the coin

Loyalty isn’t the only thing on employers’ minds, however; most will also be thinking about ambition, something that’s demonstrated by regular progression through the ranks, be it at one company or across a number.

Think about your current workplace; there are likely to be people who are readily referred to as ‘part of the furniture’. It’s a charming term, sure, but it’s not the most positive of sentiments. These members of staff have likely grown too comfortable with their surroundings, making the decision to stay where they are instead of reaching for the next rung on the ladder somewhere else.

The concern on an employer’s mind in this situation might be that the prospective employee is looking for an easy ride, or maybe even that they have little to offer in the long term. Development is crucial, so if you’re happy to figuratively sit back and relax, it can show in your CV.

Ambition vs. loyalty

So we’re left with the question: which characteristic is better? We think it’s possible to show a bit of both, but we’d sway towards the latter.

Sure, if you’ve only ever had six-month stints at jobs in the past, it’ll make prospective employers wary of your commitment, but with attitudes changing, a year or two in each position won’t look half as bad as it might have a decade ago. As mentioned already, it shows your hunger for progression, and that is a big plus-point.

Your next task is to use your cover letter and interview to emphasise that you’re ready and willing to commit to the right company – i.e. one with great benefits and exciting opportunities to develop and progress internally. They may well be confident in their ability to break your job-hopping habit!

If you are looking for your next career move and want to have a confidential conversation about how we can help you then please get in touch with SF Group on 0845 519 3655 or email recruitment@sfgroup.com.