We’ve heard complaints from employers about ‘job hopping’ candidates who show no loyalty to their jobs. So for our new Thinkopolis report, “Time to Work,” the Workopolis team took a look at how long on average Canadians are staying in their jobs. It turns out that the way we work is changing quickly.

Millions of resumes have been uploaded to Workopolis in the decade and a half since we were founded in 2000. Even those very first resumes added had work histories going back a decade or more. This gives us data from over 7,000,000 employment-history records dating from 1990 to the present.

During the first decade of that time, from 1990 through 2000 the number of people staying at their jobs for less than two years doubled from 16 percent to 33 per cent of employees. That trend has only accelerated into the 2000s, almost doubling again from 33 per cent to 51 per cent. Shorter stints at jobs have now become the majority.

The number of people who held the same job for longer than four years has dropped dramatically over the past two decades. While from 1990-2002, most people (55-60 per cent) stayed in the same job for at least four years, that number has been cut in half since 2002. Now just 30 per cent of people hold any one job for over four years.

The move to frequent job changes continues to this day: approximately one third (32 per cent) of candidates who started new jobs in 2013 have already left or changed their job since.

We polled Workopolis visitors last month to see why they had left their most recent jobs. It turns out that a poor working relationship with their boss was the biggest reason to make a change. Disengagement at work was also a common factor. Here’s what Canadians told us.

    What’s your reason for leaving your most recent job?

    My relationship with my boss – 37%
    I was bored, unhappy with the work – 29%
    I found a better opportunity – 20%
    Poor fit with the culture / coworkers – 14%

While some employers still view ‘job hopping’ as a red flag on a candidate’s resume – shorter tenure in jobs and more frequent employment changes have become more common than not.

Three reasons why hiring ‘job hoppers’ can be good for employers:

  • As more and more people change jobs increasingly frequently, this group is becoming too large a pool of talent to simply disregard.
  • Changing jobs frequently gives workers a broader perspective of their industry, because they become familiar with the inner workings, challenges and strategies of numerous organizations.
  • Job hoppers are perpetually the ‘new person’ on the team and so tend to be more flexible and hard working without a sense of complacency or entitlement, because they are in the first-impression phase. This energy can reinvigorate a team.
  • Career detours

    Along with more frequent changes in jobs, many Canadians are also changing directions completely. We polled Workopolis users just this year about how many different career paths they have followed over their working lives. More than two-thirds (69 per cent) of people have worked in more than one field, and almost half (48 per cent) have changed careers at least three times.

      How many different career paths have you had
      in your working life?

      I’ve always worked in the same field – 31%
      I’ve switched careers once – 21%
      Three or four different kinds of jobs – 35%
      More than four career paths – 13%

    Tips for transitioning to a different career field

  • Research the industry to ensure you know the challenges, trends and jargon used. Even without experience, you still want to come across as knowledgeable.
  • Tailor your skills and accomplishments to the specific needs of the industry that you are targeting.
  • Highlight your transferable skills that are in demand across industries, such as communications, leadership, and problem solving.
  • Be prepared to start at a lower level and work your way back up.
  • You can read the full report and download the infographic @ workopolis.com/research


    Peter Harris
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