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Why young people expect to change careers several times during their working lives

According to a study carried out in the UK, Gen Zers expect to change careers three times in the course of their working lives

Published: Nov 7, 2023 11:12:53 AM IST
Updated: Nov 7, 2023 11:19:40 AM IST

Why young people expect to change careers several times during their working livesTwo-thirds of Gen Zers plan to leave their current job within the next two years, according to a British study. Image: Shutterstock

Generation Z workers don't want to waste their time in a job that isn't satisfying or which doesn't align with their values. As a result, they change jobs more regularly than their predecessors on the job market. According to a study carried out in the UK, Gen Zers expect to change careers three times in the course of their working lives.

Unlike previous generations, Gen Z lives in an age of immediacy. They don't want to wait until they have more experience to be entrusted with missions they find interesting. They say they're ready to change companies, and even sectors, to do work they're passionate about, as revealed by a survey* from the recruitment consultancy Resource Solutions, reported by Business Insider.

The survey reveals that members of Generation Zers envisage changing careers at least three times during their working lives. That's one more than members of older generations. There are many reasons for making this choice, but the main one concerns their personal well-being. In fact, 73% of the young people questioned would be willing to earn less if it meant having a more fulfilling job.

While most young workers give priority to their personal happiness and well-being, their older colleagues prioritize their career advancement. For example, 36% of baby boomers and 24% of Gen Xers are not prepared to compromise their careers to achieve greater job satisfaction. They rely more on internal mobility to move up the career ladder and see their responsibilities evolve.

To stay or to go

This is why Baby Boomers and their younger counterparts—Generation X and Millennials—expect to stay with their current company for five years or more. In contrast, two-thirds of Gen Zers plan to leave their employer within the next two years—a practice commonly referred to as "job hopping".

But what's the best strategy for securing career advancement opportunities? To show loyalty to your company and hope to stay there for a long career, or to go see if the grass might be greener elsewhere? Opinions are mixed. A study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in 2022 shows that job hoppers saw their median annual salary increase by 8.5% in July 2022, compared with 5.9% for those who stayed in their jobs.

Also read: Gen Z places their core values above company loyalty: report

An article published in 2015 in the journal Organization Science draws more nuanced conclusions. By changing jobs, an executive will most certainly see their salary increase. However, their professional responsibilities are unlikely to change radically: their new employer will be more likely to hire them for the same type of position as the one they previously held, given that the employer doesn't yet know them.

In the long term, working people who move around may therefore have fewer opportunities for advancement than loyal employees—and therefore a lower salary at the end of their career. This could be food for thought for young people entering the job market, who may be tempted by the idea of hopping from one company to another.

*This survey was carried out by recruitment consultancy Resource Solutions among 2,000 adults in the UK aged between 18 and 65 who had worked in the last year.

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