This post was updated in November 2017 with new information.
When you hear the word “job hopper” are you left with a negative taste in your mouth? It used to be that staying at a company for anything less than a few years was looked down on by employers – and sometimes even considered career suicide. But it’s clear that the stigma is fading, especially for technology-based roles, such as developers and engineers.
A survey from PayScale and Millennial Branding found that 41% of baby boomers believe that people should stay in their jobs for at least five years before looking for a new role. But among those born between 1982 and 2002 (also known as millennials), only 13% agreed. Instead, 26% believe that you should start looking for something new before a year is up. In another study from Future Workplace, 91% of millennials expect to stay in a job for less than three years.
So why are so many employees, specifically developers, changing their attitudes on their time spent at a company?
Developers spend a large amount of their life working in the office, so it’s essential that they are happy and comfortable. Employers should do everything they can to take care of their technical talent. We’re not talking about luxurious conference rooms or serving foie gras for lunch (although those things would be nice), but instead focusing on things like providing your team with the best developer hardware, allowing them to attend conferences, and giving them a private office so they can concentrate on coding.
When it comes to work-life balance, developers listed expected working hours as one of the most importants aspect of a job. Similarly, the opportunity to work remotely came in at a 2.4 on a 1-5 scale. Allowing developers to work their own hours (not everyone works best in a 9-to-5 or 8-to-4 setting), or even work remotely can increase their happiness and productivity.
Developers want to be continually learning new things, and if their job isn’t allowing them to grow in that way, they may want to leave. developers said that one of the most important things in a job was the the impact of the products they'd be working on. Developers want to care about the product they are creating and feel like they are making a difference. If they don’t feel that passion or fulfillment, they’re going to seek it elsewhere. The opportunity to work with a new tech stack or for a hot product with promising results could also lure a developer away from one job to the next.
Job hopping can speed up career advancement, lead to greater job fulfillment, and help increase financial stability for the employee. So next time you think about passing on that developer because of how long they stayed at their last company, you may want to think again. Focus on their skillset and the projects they’ve executed successfully, not solely on their work history.