As of January 2022, the average worker stayed in their position for 4.1 years, a figure that stayed the same since the Bureau of Labor Statistics report issued a year prior, in January 2020.
Job hoppers, on the other hand, don’t stay nearly this long in their roles. These professionals stay for less time – typically one to two years – in any one position. While some workers may leave a job or two after short tenures, job hoppers move from job to job quickly and repeatedly, oftentimes with the goal of finding a role that suits them or to move up the career ladder more quickly.
A recent article from The Wall Street Journal said that even pay increases aren’t keeping up with inflation in many cities. The only way to keep up, the article argues, is by transferring to a new company.
But does job hopping actually earn you a higher salary?
Here, we’ll talk about how job hopping could actually boost your salary — if you do it right.
Workers who leave companies quickly earn more than those who stay.
Some long-tenured professionals might believe that their loyalty would earn them increased salaries at the companies where they work. Perhaps surprisingly, this is not the case.
Instead, a survey of 18 million worker salaries from Yahoo! Money discovered that individuals who stayed at the same companies for longer periods earned lower salaries than those who stayed. Professionals in certain fields who moved jobs earned up to 12 percent more than those who stayed.
Part of the reason for this was simple inertia, as companies weren’t increasing current employees’ salaries as much as they would if they were hiring a new employee. In other words, new positions were typically paid competitively, while pay raises for existing roles didn’t always match market rates.
“Job hopping is one of the easiest ways to gain a significant salary increase. While staying for a long time in the same role can result in below-market pay, finding a new job usually means instantly receiving the market rate,” said Lauren Thomas of Glassdoor.
Hiring companies know they will have to boost salaries to attract workers.
Many job seekers are finding new roles that pay considerably more than their previous positions, sometimes adding considerable pay increases even in lateral moves from one company to another.
This is because the around 47 million Americans who switched jobs from 2021 to 2022 were looking for a better work-life balance and better pay.
“At companies hiring right now, there is almost a tacit acknowledgment that bringing in outside workers will now mean even bigger raises than in the past, say hiring managers. Some have tried other incentives, especially around remote work, but the question of pay is paramount,” said WSJ’s Julia Carpenter.
Research is everything when switching jobs.
Many times, job postings don’t include the intended salary for the position. So, the goal when searching for a role that will almost certainly pay more is to read job titles and descriptions to find one that is an advancement from the position you currently hold.
“Most job postings don’t include salary ranges. So instead of prioritizing jobs based on potential income, [try] to identify titles that align with the next step in [your] career goals,” suggests CNBC.
They talked to one job hopper who increased her salary by $50,000 by changing jobs three times over three years. The following are her job-changing tips:
- Connect with recruiters and other relevant personnel at specific companies via LinkedIn.
- Pay attention to position levels, not industries. Many job hoppers are able to leverage their experience into more senior positions in fields they haven’t worked in before.
- Get into a recruiter mindset. What are recruiters willing to offer you for the skills you offer? In what ways is your experience valuable and unique? This will help you lay out the parameters and guidelines for the salary and benefits you would be requesting.
A job change doesn’t guarantee you more money.
In a 2022 survey from Conference Board, about a third of the 2,600 professionals and office workers they surveyed saw salary increases of at least 30 percent when switching to new positions.
Many of these significant increases went to C- and senior-level employees.
“Senior leaders were more likely to get a 30% boost than others: 35% of vice presidents and C-level executives got a 30% raise when changing jobs, while fewer than one in four individual contributors got the same,” writes Protocol.
Another one in five of those surveyed saw pay increases between 10 and 20 percent when switching companies.
But not every job change means a salary increase. Twenty-seven percent of respondents to the same survey said they earned the same – or even less – than they did in their previous places of employment.
This suggests that there are other reasons to leave your current company. Perhaps you decide to work elsewhere that pays you the same salary but offers you more flexibility and PTO.
Or maybe you can use market rate information you discover while searching for alternative positions to encourage your current employer to increase your salary. Significant percentages of workers from the Conference Board survey said they would stay at their current places of employment if they were promoted, offered more flexibility, or could work at a different location.
Job Hopping Likely Does Earn You a Higher Salary — But Job Switching Comes with a Cost
It seems likely that regular job hopping will earn you a higher salary. The longer you stay in a role, the less likely you are to earn pay increases consistent with the market rate for your position.
To change jobs, however, you have to put in the work to keep up with LinkedIn, recruiters, applying, and interviewing – which can be a full-time job in itself. So, you might want to consider using the research you uncover to convince your current employer to boost your salary – or you might start having to search for roles elsewhere.
Ready to get started job searching to earn a higher salary? Check out our job hunt guide here.