Job Hoppers vs. Temporary Workers: Note the Difference | DCR Workforce Blog

Job Hoppers vs. Temporary Workers: Note the Difference

job hoppersSpherion Staffing Services’ 2014 Emerging Workforce Study says 61% of the respondents said job hopping could hurt a person’s career while 83% felt loyalty to the employer in the long term is the way to go for true long-term career advancement. 70% of workers also seem to have linked job security to their level of loyalty – and there may be a subtle message here for you, if you happen to be an employer. 79% also felt that the employer needs to offer a defined career path. Of course, the level of contribution one makes to the job cannot be discounted, amongst all these considerations.

Whether they are in the process of hiring a temporary worker or a permanent one, hiring managers tend to shy away from giving serious consideration to the resumes of job-hoppers. If you are such an employer, would you back out from making a firm offer to someone who has a series of short assignments on their resume? The underlying concern in such a refusal includes the assumption that the person poses a risk and may leave halfway through your assignment. The person may also have such undesirable traits as irresponsibility and lack of focus, as well as limited skills and low levels of experience; given the propensity to never work at the same job for very long! Such workers are also considered to have performance issues, be unable to perform in a team, or done something which forced the employer to fire them.

Job-hoppers offer some positive traits too:

  • They may have held a series of short-term jobs in an effort to explore the world and the options it has on offer for them. When they settle down with a job which they finally choose, they will not move.
  • A worker may have chosen to work temporarily to fulfill commitments to family, find free time for obtaining training or education, or accept a position purely by force of circumstances – when there were no regular jobs to be had.
  • The economy has to also accept some responsibility for the increase in job hopping. During the downturn, massive lay-offs limited the number of available permanent positions as employers “hedged their bets” by increasing the percentage of temporary positions in their workforce.  Perhaps the perspective to adopt is that by job hopping the individual showed initiative rather than merely accepting unemployment compensation at the termination of his last permanent position.
  • Hopping jobs requires a high level of productivity and ability to market oneself. These are essential traits for many job roles; making job-hoppers valuable assets, provided we manage to retain them for longer.

It is time employers’ attitude to job-hoppers changed, at least enough to learn the reasons for their apparent lack of stability; instead of rejecting them outright. The work environment of today differs drastically from a decade ago. Companies are now considering contingent workers to be a strategic element of their workforce composition strategy. More than three quarters of the world’s largest companies report that their non-employee population is large enough – and important enough – that they have introduced Managed Services Programs and Vendor Management Systems to manage the contingent worker supply chain.

The economy encourages job hopping in other ways as well. As nations have recovered from the recession, we have seen a rapid increase in mergers, acquisitions and venture capital investments. In each of these cases, downsizing tends to follow as duplicate positions are eliminated and cost savings opportunities are sought. Government regulations, aimed at improving conditions, have had the unintended consequence of causing some employers to respond by cutting worker hours or reducing benefits. Today’s workers see little evidence of employer loyalty, and offer little in return.

Don’t miss the opportunity to add a great resource to your team by stereotyping all candidates whose resumes reflect a series of short-term assignments. By interviewing the individual, and carefully checking references, you will be able to determine whether this pattern should be of concern. In particular, when hiring a contingent worker, keep in mind that the talented individual who will make a contribution to your company will add the experience to his resume as another short term assignment. The industry’s smartest companies have figured this out. Converting contingent personnel to permanent employees is a major strategy for many organizations.

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Lalita is a people/project manager with extensive experience in operations, HCM and training and development across industries like banking, education, business consulting, BPO and information technology. She believes in a dynamic approach to life and learning as change is the only constant.