While there are employers who frown upon job-hopping, human resource practitioners have said employees who have been stuck in the same position for five years could benefit by re-looking their career path.
In Singapore’s tight labour market, human resource practitioners have found workers are in a better state to cherry-pick positions to fill, and as such go “job shopping” – a term recently coined to describe the labour market’s state of affairs.
As such, employees shift from one job to another in a relatively short span of time. Human resources practitioners weighed in on its benefits and drawbacks.
Human Capital Singapore Chief Executive Ho Geok Choo said: “It really depends on the track record that this person came with. He could be moving from one job to another job or one industry to another industry, but if the reasons for his move are good reasons, then I think these are considerations when we make our selection."
Good reasons include being hungry to broaden one's skill set or employability - using exposure gained from filling a variety of positions.
Experts said the issue of job hopping is viewed differently by different industries and businesses. As such, it is difficult to label the phenomenon as "bad" across the board.
Therefore, human resource practitioners would ask: “Are you growing in your particular position? Or is there some form of progression?” These questions aim to influence whether an employee should stay, or go.
For instance, if one has been in the same role in their company for more than five years and see no positive change, experts said it perhaps is time to move on. But if one gets rotated to other positions and see responsibilities grow as promotions come, then it is not a bad idea to stick with one employer.
After all, Singapore's national SkillsFuture movement aims to drive development of deep skills in workers. Deep skills are most useful when applied in a specialised area, which naturally involves building upon experience gained in a particular role.
Mr Adrian Tan, a job hunting coach at CareerLadder, said: "As long as you can put across that there has been progression, there's been differentiation, and you're doing something slightly different because you are of a senior rank grade – so (maybe) right now you are doing a bit more of mentoring, coaching, training people – that could be seen as a progression, rather than holding on to the same rank grade over the past eight years."
Hence, it will not be too useful to categorise stayers or quitters as “good” or “bad” employees, experts said. They added that it is more practical for companies to adapt to job hopping as a trend that will persist, and for workers to learn continually, whichever job they are in.