2fc02b8.jpgYou’ve heard the phrase “job jumper”. For many people, this phrase implies that you are unstable and not sure what you want or you’ll take any job if the money is better. However, there’s another reason why moving to a new job more frequently is a great thing for your career.

Recent research has uncovered that staying employed at the same company for more than 2 years on average, can reduce your lifetime by about 50% or more. In fact, the longer you work with one company, the greater the difference can become over your lifetime. Your largest salary increase generally occurs after 2 years with a company. After that, you’re likely to make more income from the next place you start working at. Consider this perspective.

The average pay raise in the U.S, based on historical data, shows that an employee can expect at best an annual raise of 3%.  Even the most underperforming employee can expect an average 1.3% raise. The best performers can average a 4.5% increase.  But, with an inflation rate of 2.1% based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the real value of your raise is probably reduced by that 2.1% CPI, leaving an average worker with a net 2.4% pay increase annually.

The problem with staying at a company for many years is that you start with a base salary and usually annual raises are based on a percentage of your current salary. It may also become more difficult to be promoted since you will likely be waiting in line behind others who are after a promotion themselves and are more senior to you.

However, there is one thing you CAN control in terms of the income we make – changing jobs. Do some research and you’ll find that the average raise for CHANGING jobs is 10% – 20%. How can this be?

download.jpgDifferent than 5 years ago, the global employment market is now desperate for skilled labor and companies around the globe are struggling to find talent. This means most skilled people are now positioned better than ever to leverage their abilities for increased pay, IF you have marketable skills AND you are electronically findable OR you have great relationships for referrals. Companies competing for talent are often expecting to pay more when hiring new talent if it means they can hire the best talent.

A recent CareerBuilder survey showed that 45% of employees plan to stay with their employer for less than 2 years. Employees leave not just for more money but often they move on just to break the diminishing value of a flat learning curve.

Consider the experience of golfer Dan McLaughlin. Never having played 18 holes of golf, McLaughlin quit his job as a commercial photographer to pursue a goal of becoming a top professional golfer by committing to 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. During the first 18 months, his improvement was slow as he practiced his putting, chipping and drive. Then, as he began to put the various pieces together, he moved into a phase of amazing growth.

Within 4 years, he had surpassed 96 percent of the 26 million golfers who register a handicap with the US Golf Association. Then McLaughlin wanted to move from the top 4 percent to the top 1 percent of amateur golfers, but S-curve math predicted his rate of improvement would decline more and more sharply over time.  Once, someone reaches the upper portion of the S-curve (around the 4-year mark) the learning curve is typically flat-lined and noticeable improvement is minimal.

Graph1.jpgThe same thing happens with a job. Somewhere between 2 and 4 years you are unlikely to continue learning new things unless you change jobs or pursue growth-focused continuing education.

Research also shows that a jump to a new company is significantly different depending on your age.

For employees 25-34, a new job means a 10% wage increase; while at 35-54, it’s only 4.9%; and just 2.2% for those 55 or older. Stay 10 years or more, and the typical annual raise is just 2.2%.  The sweet spot for changing jobs is 3-5 years.

So “owning your career” might be THE solution to make a significant difference your career path AND income.

Many employees will have had 5 jobs by the time they reach the age of 30. Learning how to navigate a new environment, position yourself for the next level of income and connect with new colleagues and bosses is vital to avoid getting stuck in a flat learning curve with raises that barely change your quality of life.

Finding ways to reinvent and take advantage of new opportunities sometimes requires taking the risk of a new job where you can learn new things and end up making more money over the lifetime of your career. The stigma of being a flaky job-hopper is quickly becoming a thing of the past, and that’s a good thing.

Changing jobs every 3-5 years used to look bad on a resume, however that stigma is fast becoming antiquated, especially as millennials rise in the workplace with expectations to continuously learn, and advance in their careers. A former chief talent officer for Netflix says job hopping is a good thing, and you should consider changing jobs every 3 – 5 years.  An employee who stays on the job and isn’t learning at a high rate is typically not as engaged, so they’re not usually doing their best work.

images.jpgDon’t be scared into longevity at your job. Here are 8 reasons to consider job-hopping:

  1. Job-hopping allows you to widen your choice of jobs, not narrow it.
  2. Job Security no longer exists Now more than ever, every job is unstable.
  3. Now it’s almost more secure to build your own unique career from scratch.
  4. Job-hopping is a precursor to the future of careers.
  5. Careers are no longer linear. You need to link many diverse positions together to build a great career.
  6. As the idea of careers shift toward more contract portfolio careers, you can get ahead by showing results quickly and providing value.
  7. When you job-hop, you can expand your network tenfold. It’s your NETWORK, not your list of positions, that will get you in the door for your next job.
  8. Get a substantial raise and a title upgrade. It’s better, and often easier, to find a new job that pays well than to try and convince your existing company to give you a raise and a promotion.

Career changing is usually a bumpy ride for everyone. If you’ve been thinking about taking the leap, but are worried about throwing yourself into the uncertainty of a job hunt, this information could be just the push you need. Job security is nice, but you could be missing out on better opportunities if you never make a change or at least explore your options.  Remember the lyrics from the song Freewill by the band Rush……621793a1b6c616446ebbb6438a81c759.jpg