For better or for worse, millennials have been labeled as a generation of job hoppers. A 2016 report from Gallup revealed that 21 percent of millennials said they changed jobs in the past year, three times more likely than their non-millennials counterparts. Another analysis of LinkedIn profile data found that millennials changed jobs more often within the first five years of graduating than previous generations did within five years of graduating. And research from global staffing firm Robert Half found that 75 percent of employees ages 18 to 34 (millennials + old Gen Z’ers) view job hopping as beneficial to their careers, compared to 59 percent of workers ages 35 to 54, and 51 percent of those 55 and older.
It’s safe to say that the days of graduating college and staying in the same job for 20+ years are gone. But as members of Generation Z start their careers, will they go the way of their millennial predecessors or will job hopping be on the decline?
With Gen Z just now entering the workforce, it’s too soon to track their actual job hopping tendencies. But data gathered by RippleMatch from our student user base reveals their early intentions, as well as some insight into how employers can retain the Gen Z talent they bring on.
Our report on Class of 2018 graduates takes a look at the challenges of the job search, determining factors that led to accepted job offers, and how long students plan to stay with a company or in a specific industry. The report is based off our survey of more than 700 class of 2018 graduates from universities across the country, who now work in industries such as finance, technology, healthcare, consulting, and more.
We asked respondents, “How long do you envision yourself staying with your current company, in any role?” and then provided a list of ranges from less than a year, 1-2 years, 3-4 years, 5-7 years and 8+ years.
The most popular answer was “1-2 years”, with 44.5 percent of graduates selecting it as a response. 37 percent of respondents said they envisions themselves staying with their current company for 3-4 years, and 14 percent envision themselves staying with their current company for 5-8 years. That means that a little more than half of our Gen Z respondents see themselves staying with their current company for at least 3-4 years, while slightly less than half envision themselves leaving after 1-2 years.
With job hopping typically defined as spending less than two years in one position, the early results from our Class of 2018 hints that Gen Z could go either way when it comes to frequently switching jobs. Data from our candidate onboarding survey reveals that career progression is especially important to Gen Z – and lack of upward mobility could increase their likelihood to switch jobs in a few years.
Upon signing up for RippleMatch, students are asked to rank the importance of factors like professional development, upward mobility, community and work/life balance on a scale from 1-5, with 1 being “Not at all Important” and 5 being “Extremely Important.” Data collected from tens of thousands of entry-level candidates reveals that upward mobility is the second most important thing to Gen Z as a whole, right after professional development.
The importance of both upward mobility and professional development – which edged out things like work-life balance, company prestige, and compensation – reveals that Gen Z’ers want to acquire new skills, take on challenges, and progress in their careers. The likelihood of Gen Z turning out to be a generation of job hoppers will in some part be determined by the companies they join. If Gen Z employees don’t feel they’re being offered opportunities for professional development or don’t see a clear path for upward mobility, they may seek out those opportunities elsewhere.
While millennials have been labeled as “entitled” for demanding more flexibility or “flaky” for their perceived job-hopping tendencies, many millennials have simply sought out better job opportunities as they move through their careers. In a candidate-driven market, talented Gen Z employees won’t have to stay with the same company for years if that company isn’t providing them with the right opportunities. So when investing in the hiring and retention of entry-level employees, just remember that you can help prevent another generation of job hoppers.
Want a cheat sheet to Generation Z? Download our infographic on “5 Fast Facts Every Employer Should Know About Generation Z” here. or download our comprehensive report on ‘What Gen Z Wants at Work’ below.