The Job Hopping Phenomenon: How HR Can Harness The Power of a Transitory Workforce [Part 1 of 2]

June 30, 2017


The average employee tenure across industries is slightly longer than four years, but among certain highdemand job profiles, that timeframe drops to approximately 18 to 36 months. While this was once a sign of an unstable employee and had detrimental career implications, today, it’s the new norm. How should companies respond to this job-hopping phenomenon? What are the implications, and what needs to change in order to harness the power of a transitory workforce?

Talent is investing only 1.5 to three years at your company before moving on. Why are they moving on? In most cases, they are offered more enticing opportunities, better pay and a chance for a better worklife fit. The idea of leaving to get a raise has morphed into a focus in improving your income, job responsibilities and overall career trajectory. People don’t climb the ladder in the same company anymore; they use multiple companies to build their career momentum.

What’s driving this change?

A few major factors have driven this change. One, the speed of company evolution has increased exponentially. Consider Square, Zynga and Pinterest — they all achieved a level of revenue of more than $1 billion in 2.5 to three years. With such high stakes, recruiting the best talent becomes a hypercompetitive business function where incredibly aggressive tactics are used to attract top talent. Candidates will naturally listen to enticing offers. This quickening of the business cycle has also sped up employees’ expectations related to how long they should stay at a job and maximize their potential. What used to take years now can take months in many companies. This has led to a supply and demand imbalance, where many companies are competing aggressively for fewer qualified candidates.

There has also been a shift in workforce psychology. Technology has trained us to have much shorter attention spans as well as an almost addictive expectation for continual change. Global job opportunities are as close as our smartphones, and there is an overall change in how people assign meaning to the concept of work. It used to be that people were loyal to an employer and generally felt their employment was a lifelong commitment. Today’s talent is loyal to their sense of self and to the power to actively build the lives they want.

These changes can feel intimidating to companies. Losing talent repetitively costs money. It also disrupts knowledge capital within companies. But there are upsides. The rate of innovation demands fresh insight, and the continual influx of new people serves this well. Joining and leaving teams repetitively creates agile people who are good at adapting to new situations and contributing their expertise.

To be continued…

Seven Step RPO is a leading global provider of outsourced recruitment solutions. Founded in 2007, the company helps the world’s largest corporations overcome their talent acquisition challenges by providing true recruitment innovation, valuable analytics, and actionable insight. Seven Step is ranked as a Top Enterprise Provider on HRO Today’s RPO Baker’s Dozen list as an industry leader in customer satisfaction. For more information, visit www.sevensteprpo. com, or follow Seven Step on Twitter @ SevenStepRPO.

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