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Is Gen Z job hopping?

Gen Z, defined as those born between 1997 and 2012, are entering the workforce in large numbers. As the newest generation to enter the labor force, there are many questions around how Gen Z will approach their careers and whether they will stay loyal to employers or frequently switch jobs, a practice known as “job hopping.”

Who is Gen Z?

Gen Z is the newest generation, born from 1997 to 2012. They are currently between the ages of 11 and 26. Some key traits that define Gen Z include:

– They are true digital natives who have never known a world without the internet and social media.

– They are highly diverse and inclusive.

– They value unique experiences over material possessions.

– They are entrepreneurial and financially focused.

– They prefer flexible work arrangements.

Gen Z is just entering the workforce, so it remains to be seen how their preferences and values will play out in their careers. But early indications suggest Gen Z may take a different approach to work and employers compared to previous generations.

What is Job Hopping?

Job hopping refers to the practice of frequently switching jobs and employers. While definitions vary, job hopping often refers to switching jobs every 1-3 years.

Some key things to know about job hopping:

– It is more common among younger generations like Millennials and Gen Z.

– It is enabled by a strong labor market with abundant job opportunities.

– It is often seen as a way to advance more quickly in title, salary and responsibilities.

– It can be perceived negatively by some employers who prefer longer tenures.

Job hopping differs from the traditional model of finding a job at a company and remaining loyal to that employer for many years or even an entire career. With job hopping, workers feel less tied to a single employer and are open to exploring new job opportunities.

Is Gen Z Job Hopping? What the Data Says

While Gen Z is still early in their working lives, initial data provides some insights into how long they stay with employers compared to older generations when they were the same age.

Some key data points:

– Average job tenure for Gen Z so far is 2.2 years, compared to 3 years for Millennials at the same age (Deloitte)

Generation Average Job Tenure at Age 18-25
Gen Z 2.2 years
Millennials 3 years

– 91% of Gen Z expect to stay with their first employer 1-3 years (Adobe)

– 15% of Gen Z have already changed jobs in the first year of their career, higher than other generations (IBM)

Generation Changed Jobs in First Year of Career
Gen Z 15%
Millennials 12%
Gen X 10%
Baby Boomers 6%

This early data indicates Gen Z is switching jobs more frequently than previous generations did at the same age, signaling they may be more open to job hopping. However, it’s important to note Gen Z is still early in their careers, so these trends could change as they gain more experience.

Motivations for Job Hopping

If Gen Z is actually job hopping more than other generations, what are their motivations? Some potential reasons include:

– Seeking higher compensation: With each job change, Gen Z is able to negotiate higher salaries.

– Wanting rapid career advancement: Rather than wait to climb the ladder at one company, Gen Z moves jobs to gain experience faster.

– Desiring flexibility: Gen Z may change jobs to find ones with more flexible work arrangements.

– Avoiding burnout: Job hopping allows Gen Z to gain new skills while avoiding burnout in any one role.

– Exploring options: Early in their career, Gen Z wants exposure to different companies and roles to understand their interests.

Essentially, Gen Z is being strategic about gaining experience, skills and pay by making intentional job changes. However, this approach can also have downsides if taken to extremes.

Downsides of Excessive Job Hopping

While some amount of job hopping, especially early in a career, can be beneficial, excessive job switching has risks, including:

– Negative employer perceptions: Employers may see frequent job changing as a red flag.

– Plateaued learning: Switching jobs too quickly can prevent workers from mastering skills in any single role.

– Lack of professional network: Frequent job changes can inhibit forming strong networks and mentors.

– Lower pay: Companies may not extend high salaries to those seen as flight risks.

– Delayed career advancement: It can take time to gain the experience needed for promotions when frequently changing roles.

Gen Z needs to be aware of these downsides if job hopping becomes excessive later in their careers. The ideal approach is strategic job changes balanced with tenure at companies once they find roles they hope to grow and advance in long-term.

Will Gen Z Continue Job Hopping as Their Careers Progress?

The key question is whether Gen Z will continue switching jobs at higher rates as their careers advance, or if they will settle into more stable job patterns in their late 20s and 30s. There are arguments on both sides of this debate:

Yes, Gen Z May Retain a Pattern of Job Hopping

There are several reasons why Gen Z may retain a tendency to switch jobs more frequently:

– A tight labor market where workers have bargaining power may empower Gen Z to keep changing roles in pursuit of better opportunities.

– Remote and hybrid work options will give Gen Z flexibility to more easily change employers.

– Gen Z may continue to have a transactional view of work and feel less loyalty toward employers in exchange for gaining new experiences and pay increases.

– As digital natives, Gen Z is accustomed to having many options at their fingertips, leading to a willingness to explore new job options.

No, Job Hopping May Decline as Gen Z’s Careers Progress

On the other hand, there are also arguments for why job hopping may slow down as Gen Z matures:

– As Gen Z’s professional networks grow and careers progress, they may seek more stability.

– Wanting employment security and benefits like parental leave may motivate Gen Z to stick with employers longer term.

– With time, Gen Z may crave deeper relationships with coworkers and managers that require longer tenures.

– Employers may become less tolerant of frequent job changes on resumes and offer incentives for loyalty.

– Gen Z may realize certain career goals like leadership roles require demonstrating commitment to employers.

It is also possible Gen Z’s behavior may reflect a combination, where they slow down job changes in their 30s and 40s but still switch employers more than previous generations. Only time will tell how this plays out.


In summary, early data indicates Gen Z is more open to frequent job changes than previous generations at the same age. This suggests they are more likely to job hop through the early part of their careers. However, it remains to be seen if this pattern continues as Gen Z progresses professionally.

There are reasonable arguments for why Gen Z may retain a tendency toward job hopping compared to previous generations. But there are also good reasons why job mobility may decline later in Gen Z’s careers.

Ultimately, the career path Gen Z takes will be shaped by economic conditions, evolving employer attitudes toward tenure, Gen Z’s own maturing preferences, and other societal trends that remain to be seen. Regardless, it is clear Gen Z has a unique perspective on careers that organizations will need to understand.

Rather than view Gen Z’s career choices as inherently positive or negative, the healthiest perspective is to recognize that every generation makes decisions reflecting the context of their times. For now, it appears that context has led Gen Z to approach growing their careers with an openness to exploration and change.