Job Hoppers: A 21st Century Problem

A quick insight into the ins and outs of job hopping

Malaysia is slowly pushing its way into the new age of technology, especially with the emergence of Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things (IoT). This new shift in direction is accompanied by a different set of cultures and work mentalities. In the past, job-hopping would be considered a form of career suicide, severely impacting a candidates’ reputation and employability.

The rising number of job hoppers is a 21st-century problem that society has never dealt with before, at least at this scale. This issue poses a significant problem for companies looking to recruit reliable, trustworthy staff members that are willing to contribute to a company long-term. Entrepreneur Insight reached out to Darven Ganesan, Associate Director at Randstad Sourceright APAC Sourcing Centre, to get his thoughts and opinions on this issue.

MERELY A TREND? OR SOMETHING MORE?

Working in the recruitment industry throughout his entire career, Darven has had plenty of experience meeting and handling job hoppers. “Job hoppers are people who move from one company to another within the span of about one to two years, never staying in place for a long period of time,” says Darven. “Nowadays, it is rare to see employees working for companies for the rest of their lives, and it is fairly normal for staff members to hop to different companies throughout their careers.”

When asked why is there a rising trend of job hoppers, Darven replied, “The Internet has made job seeking so much easier than ever before. In the pre-Internet age, job seekers can only find employment through word of mouth, classified advertisements, or through certain recruitment agencies. But now, with platforms like JobStreet, Monster, WOBB and even Facebook, finding jobs is no longer a challenge. It is easy to send out 10 or even 20 applications per day from the comfort of your smartphone.”

IN THE MIND OF A JOB HOPPER

Darven further shares, “From my experience, most job hoppers are fresh graduates, millennials or from Generation Z. These generations of employees are fearless and unafraid of taking large risks, which is very admirable in a way. However many job hoppers have no idea that their actions will have severe impacts on their records and career progression. Unemployment is still a dangerous possibility, and no amount of job portals can help change that.”

“Everything happens for a reason,” Darven commented. “The key reason why people hop jobs is mainly due to job dissatisfaction. Many job hoppers have yet to figure out what they want to accomplish in their lives and their respective careers. The disheartening feeling of being lost and the lack of purpose is a major demotivating factor. When they realise that they do not enjoy working for a particular company, they will not hesitate to switch jobs.”

“Of course, there are other major pulling factors enticing job hoppers to switch jobs. Employees nowadays are so interconnected online, that they compare themselves to others constantly, setting high expectations for themselves. They seek better remuneration, better working environment, closer office locations, better work culture, faster career progression, and more. The grass always appears greener on the other side, and given the opportunity, they will go for greener pastures.” Darven explained.

“In my personal opinion, it is okay for fresh graduates to resign while on probation for their first or second job. If possible, I highly recommend people to stay in their current jobs for at least two years. Job hopping does not look good on your resume, and it raises major red flags for recruiters. Many companies, especially Multi-National Corporations (MNC), do not hire job hoppers because training an employee requires time and money. Companies are not incentivised to hire and train employees that who will eventually leave without contributing much to the company,” says Darven.

TIPS FOR EMPLOYERS

“In human resource, retaining employees is just as important, if not more important than recruitment itself. There is this quote by Richard Branson, ‘Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough, so they don’t want to.’ Trust is key to building a strong relationship between employers and employees. To fulfill that, companies should have an open and transparent communication policy.”

“I highly recommend companies to start a monthly survey system whereby employees can voice out their feedback and ideas anonymously. The results of the survey may or may not be useful, but this action itself shows that the company is committed to protecting the staff’s wellbeing. By giving a platform for employees to voice out their honest and true feelings, companies can identify problems quicker, making rectifying the problem much easier,” said Darven.

“Another aspect that companies should consider is to implement a good company culture. Good company culture will translate to a better working mentality, which in turn increases productivity. Companies nowadays adopt a much more open and friendly environment, instead of the small, and suffocating cubicle structure. Dress codes are much laxer, and the divide between employer and employee has grown much closer.”

WORKING FROM HOME

“In the United States, there is a growing trend of allowing staff to work from home, especially for positions that do not require them to be in the office physically,” said Darven. “Companies can consider adopting this alternate working style, as it can significantly improve the employee’s quality of life. Eliminating the need for travelling, allowing housewives to take care of children, allowing employees to work in a familiar and comfortable environment are some of the attractive reasons to adopt a work-from-home work style”

“Companies may save on costs as well, with smaller working spaces, reduced overhead, or even a reduction in salary. But of course, there are plenty of downsides as well. Employers will be unable to monitor the employee’s work progress, and there will be a lack of direct communication between staff members, making coordination much more complicated. In the end, it comes down to the industry and the nature of the business, to determine how effective this work policy can be.”

SHOULD EMPLOYERS HIRE JOB HOPPERS?

“Here in Randstad, we follow a step-by-step process in qualifying candidates,” explained Darven. “Skillsets, qualifications and accomplishments are the first and most important thing we look out for. We must first determine if a candidate is well equipped to get the job done or that additional training is required.”

“Then, we look at their job history, as candidates from MNC are more attractive than those from local companies. Only then, do we look at the candidate’s tenure period, and finally, their reasons for leaving.” Darven further explains, “The candidate’s tenure period is important, but we have to take many factors into account before that. We do not want to risk losing someone with great potential just because of his or her employment history. However, it is important that we investigate and find out why these candidates job-hop in the first place. Most of them have no ill-intention when switching jobs, and personally, I believe that nobody wants to come to work just to do a bad job.”

THE INDUSTRY MOVING FORWARD

When asked about the future of human resource, Darven responded, "Yes, there will definitely be more job hoppers in the future, as the culture seems to be moving towards that direction. To overcome this pending problem, I suggest companies to start thinking of ways to retain their employees. We are adopting newer and better technologies, yet our work culture remains the same. Be cautious, and be well prepared, and do what is best for your business.”

“Nobody wants to come to work just to do a bad job.” – Darven Ganesan,Associate Director at Randstad Sourceright APAC Sourcing Centre

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