Rain drop, drop top… young professionals like to job hop

Shortly after graduation, I will be starting off my career as a software engineer. Although I love problem solving and programming, I see myself moving towards a more management role in the future. This is partly due to “age-ism” I hear that happens a lot in our industry. As an accountant gets more experience, he or she becomes much more skillful valuable to a company. The experience that the accountant gained does not usually become obsolete. However, in the tech industry as soon as we start becoming comfortable and familiar with a certain technology stack, there are ten more frameworks that have just been released that employers want because they are “trendy”. This is not to say a seasoned developer is not greatly more valuable than a new one, but it is to say that we are always expected to devote time outside of our regular 9–5 job to learning many of these new technologies to make sure our skills are not obsolete. As many of us grow older and start reaching that “greybeard” generation, we want to use more of time to spend with our families, which can make certain developer jobs tough to balance.

Ideally, I would like to stay with one company and grow my career there. However, it seems that in today’s world to truly experience career growth, it may sometimes be a good option to job hop. According to Vivian Giang’s article, “workers who stay with a company for longer than two years are said to be paid 50% less”. This makes it harder for many employees to stay at one place. With resources such as Glassdoor to see how people stand compared to others in terms of compensation, many employees may find it a better career move to leave their place and get hired elsewhere, rather than wait for raises or promotions at their current company.

According to Cameron Kang, those who jump ship are being rewarded and loyal employees are being punished. This is because recession has allowed businesses to freeze their payroll and decrease the salaries of the newly hired. However, this solution was meant to be temporary and has actually become the norm. To combat this, employees are being forced to jump ship to obtain their true market value. A company should be loyal to their employees and vice versa, however, in today’s market that does not seem possible anymore. However, this can actually be beneficial for both parties, since according to Giang, “job hoppers are believed to have a higher learning curve, be higher performers, and even to be more loyal, because they care about making a good impression in the short amount of time they know they’ll stay with each employer.”

I feel trade secret should be kept, if a company has rightful ownership to the IP. It may be wise and better for the world for a company to share certain things, but it doesn’t have to share if they don’t wish to. However, I feel that non-compete agreements are not fair to the employee. This hindrances innovation, as Greenhouse says in his NY Times article “if a few employees there have an innovative idea and their bosses don’t want to pursue it, they can leave to found a start-up.” Employers shouldn’t be allowed to be lock in their employees. I understand in certain situations such as an acquisition when employees need to stick around to help a company with its product. However, I believe there are different ways to handle this situation of non-poaching. A company may offer incentives or bonuses to employees to stay for a certain time, but I do not believe that it is fair to the employee to do this. However, I don’t believe this practice can be considered unethical, as long as the employee is made well aware of the conditions and employers allow employees to find a new job if they are let go involuntarily.

I believe that job-hopping is not unethical either. An employee shouldn’t come in with a mindset to always job-hop, but I can understand reasons why an employee might. An employee may want to be closer to family or friends, or a job may become unfulfilling. An employee may feel that he or she is not learning anymore, which can be bad for both the company and employee. If the employee is happy, but can be compensated better elsewhere, I believe it is a good idea to bring the issue up to his or her manager, before just taking off.

I read a quote once that went along the lines like this:

“What happens if I train an employee but then he just leaves?”

“What if you don’t train him and he stays?”

Although it costs a company some money to train and hire companies, I believe it is mutually beneficial for both parties in the long run. Some employees will leave but some will also join. Job-hopping provides a lot of growth for the employee but also provides a way for companies to recruit self-driven talented professionals.