We surveyed 2,100+ professionals regarding their job change habits and frequency, in an attempt to answer two questions:
Below, we’ll share our findings.
On average, people change jobs every 2.73 years, or approximately every two years and nine months.
Below, you’ll find a more detailed breakdown of how often the average person changes jobs:
We also asked another simple question: Have you ever left a job within one year of starting? 62% of professionals reported leaving at least one job within the first year.
So while the average job tenure is 2.73 years, more than half of the professionals we polled left at least one job within a year.
Next, we asked about peoples’ reasons for leaving past jobs.
The most common reasons that people change jobs are finding a better opportunity, leaving a toxic environment, and a lack of room for professional growth.
Below, you’ll find the exact breakdown of the top reasons people leave jobs, based on the percentage of professionals who reported leaving a position for each reason at least once in their career:
Less-common reasons for leaving a position include the following:
30% of the 2,100+ people in our survey changed careers at some point in their professional lives.
This is in line with my first-hand observations from working as a recruiter for five years; I’ve observed that approximately one-third of professionals have made a career change in their professional lives.
While it’s common to change careers, it’s still more common to stay within one industry and career path, since career change brings challenges, risks, and sometimes a temporary salary reduction.
If you’re considering changing careers, research the career path and industry you’re considering so you know what you’re getting into, and then trust your gut and follow your instinct.
Even though fewer than half of people change careers, I still recommend it in many cases…
Changing careers can bring you more room for upward growth, help you escape a shrinking/dying industry, and bring new excitement and passion to your work.
For further career change statistics, I recommend this article by Apollo Technical.
We did not ask respondents to report their age in the polls mentioned above; however, as a former recruiter, my experience is that younger professionals do change jobs more often than older generations.
Older generations, like baby boomers, were told that job-hopping looks bad on a resume and that you should never leave a job within one year.
It’s becoming more acceptable to switch careers or take new jobs at a higher frequency, though.
Younger professionals are realizing that if they’re sure they want a career change or new job, there’s little sense in remaining in a position for a full year just to improve their resume.
The advice that you should stay in every job for at least one year is outdated and dangerous/harmful.
There are many reasons to start a job search or take a new job immediately.
Good reasons for joining a new company/job immediately include:
Those are just some of the situations when you should change to a new position even if you’ve spent less than one year in your current role.
Looking back on my own career, as someone who has changed careers multiple times, I don’t regret any job changes. I regret staying in positions I was unhappy in.
However, if your job isn’t harming your physical or mental health, consider looking for a job while employed instead of quitting with no job lined up.
Continuing in your same job will give you a steady paycheck and more confidence in your job hunt. You’ll have less pressure and more time to look for the right new position.
Also, if you love your company but feel your role is no longer a fit, consider talking to your manager about whether this same company may have a different team/role that fits your goals better.
To wrap up, I’m going to help you decide: How often is too often to change jobs?
The answer depends on your total years of experience and other factors.
Employers look at your resume and job history as one big picture. They only see job-hopping as an issue if it seems to be a pattern.
If your average number of months in a position is 12-24+, that’s good.
Then, if you left one job in three months because you knew that it wasn’t a good fit, that’s fine.
In this case, you did the right thing by not wasting a full year in a role that you knew wasn’t a fit!
So the key here is to be strategic and limit how often you’re doing this. Pick and choose the scenarios when it makes sense to make quick job changes, and when it’s not worth it.
But do take that better job, or leave that toxic environment ASAP when needed.
Try to keep your average number of months in each position at 12-24 or above, and you’ll be unlikely to scare off any potential employers… even if you’ve left one or two positions in less than a year.
Further reading: How to explain job-hopping to employers.
Biron Clark is a former executive recruiter who has worked individually with hundreds of job seekers, reviewed thousands of resumes and LinkedIn profiles, and recruited for top venture-backed startups and Fortune 500 companies. He has been advising job seekers since 2012 to think differently in their job search and land high-paying, competitive positions.
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