Survey: Once Shunned, Job Hopping Is the New Normal

HR & Safety

A recent survey shows what many Connecticut HR professionals already know: Three out of four employees at U.S. companies do not remain at their jobs for more than five years.

The survey from iHire shows that switching jobs is becoming common in the U.S. What was once thought of as a liability on an applicant’s resumé—job hopping—is no longer seen as a negative.

Source: iHire Talent Retention Report 2019.

In fact, the survey found that jumping from job to job is the new norm as 75% of respondents said they plan to stay with their current employer no more than five years, and nearly 52% said they left a job voluntarily within the past five years.

Furthermore, 31% said they planned to stay at their current job less than one year, and 35% of employees have actively searched for a new job while at work.

Among the reasons for this are a candidate-driven labor market, a booming economy, and a 50-year-low national unemployment rate of 3.5%.

The tight labor market forces small business owners to increase salaries, benefits, and other incentives to attract qualified applicants.

Wide-Open Market

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than one-fourth of American workers—40 million or 27% of the workforce—quit their jobs in 2018.

Two-thirds of those surveyed by iHire—66%—said they have been with their current employer five years, while 25% said they plan to stay in their current job for six or more years.

The survey also found that 60% of respondents were “somewhat satisfied” or “neither satisfied nor unsatisfied” with their job.

When asked the primary reason for leaving a job voluntarily, only 17% cited unsatisfactory salary or pay.

With a wide-open job market, it’s not surprising that an unsatisfied employee would seek a more meaningful job elsewhere.

Yet, when asked for the primary reason for leaving a job voluntarily, only 17% cited unsatisfactory salary or pay while only 12% pointed to a lack of growth or advancement opportunities.

Similarly, when asked what would increase their likelihood of staying at their job if offered work elsewhere, 49% of respondents said a raise or a bonus while 22% cited “clear growth opportunities.”

Company Culture

The survey also found that company culture can help retain top talent.

Some 40% of respondents cited company culture as a reason for leaving a job.

This statistic kind of jumps out at you, said CBIA HR expert Mark Soycher, and suggests an action point where attention to culture may offer a significant return on investment.

While culture can be difficult to identify, candid conversations with workers about what attracts them to certain types of work—besides pay and benefits—can be revealing.

While culture can be difficult to identify, candid conversations with workers can be revealing.

Flex schedules may be more attractive than retirement benefits to a younger workforce, suggesting that employers explore other options for their employees.

Another aspect of culture that’s often overlooked but has value to some workers is the company’s mission—the value of its product or service to the end user, consumer, or industry.

Regardless of the level of production or administrative responsibility, all workers should be aware of the big picture of what they do, leading to a sense of pride, accomplishment, or contributing to something they can see or identify with.


The survey showed that nearly 11% of employees would leave a job due to a negative or toxic work environment, while 7% said a poor work-life balance would hasten their departure.

Among the steps companies can take to ensure long-standing relationships with their employees are:

  • Hire the right candidate
  • Establish a thriving work culture
  • Emphasize engagement
  • Strike a work-life balance
  • Recognize your employees

“Qualified talent has become difficult not only to recruit, but also to retain due to a job market with more open positions than people to fill them,” said Steve Flook, president and CEO of iHire.

“The possibility that a more rewarding career opportunity is out there is often too compelling for even the most tenured and loyal employee.

“That’s why employers need to make the extra effort to keep their best talent engaged, nurture staff’s professional and personal growth, and establish a workplace culture that cannot be found anywhere else.”

For more information, contact CBIA’s Mark Soycher at 860.244.1138 | @HRHotline


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