1. Home
  2. Insights

WSJ: “In This Economy, Quitters Are Winning.” Our Take on Job-Hopping to Career Success.

person speaking before an audience of business professionals

Quitting a job isn’t the cliff-hanger it used to be. Workers are voluntarily leaving their jobs at the fastest rate since 2001, according to a recent Wall Street Journal story, and the results are in their favor:

“Job-hopping is happening across industries including retail, food service and construction, a sign of broad-based labor-market dynamism.

Workers have been made more confident by a strong economy and historically low unemployment, at 3.8% in May, the lowest since 2000.”

Job switchers across industries land higher-paying jobs than those who stay put.

At Aerotek we have been observing this trend for some time. In a stronger economy, employees find they have the upper hand when it comes to finding jobs that carry the pay and job satisfaction they say they seek. As Aerotek Market Research Analyst Kerry Heffner puts it:

“Workers across many professions have come to realize an essential truth about the new jobs economy, which is that your value increases more and faster when you move jobs.”

Having helped many job hoppers pivot toward more rewarding jobs, explore new industries and seek new skills, we have seen the benefits of these transitions firsthand and up close, client by client and job opening by job opening.

Switching to drive up wages

That economists have identified job switching as a predictor of wage growth is no surprise. In a tighter job market, employees are more likely to feel emboldened to leave less-fulfilling work with the goal of exploring new, higher-paying jobs and more rewarding experiences.

“Job switchers drive up wages as they move up the job ladder, and the opportunities for these moves are more plentiful during booms,” write senior economists R. Jason Faberman and Alejandro Justiniano. “Theory suggests that since the quit rate helps predict current and future costs of production (through wages), then it should also be important for predicting inflation.”

When employees have more freedom to head out into the job market and explore, the journey to finding one’s chosen profession can result in higher job satisfaction, productivity and, frankly, a better work product.


Hopping to satisfaction

Research has long indicated a strong relationship between job satisfaction and organizational performance — but not necessarily the other way around. When the right people are selected for the right jobs, those employees are engaged in their work, seek great communication with their superiors and position themselves to tackle work they find meaningful.

Our recruiters help job-seekers tailor their search by drawing out an employee’s strengths, values and ideals, then pairing those traits with positions that will offer them the most exciting opportunities to gain the skill sets they desire while on the road toward advancement.

And while the Wall Street Journal noted that the “resurgence of job-hopping is particularly helpful for younger workers looking for footholds to launch their careers,” the fact is that when the market supports higher rates of job-switching, more seasoned employees may benefit as well.

“One of the things we tell people in the early- to mid-phases of their careers is that it’s never too late for reinvention,” said Angela Brill, an Aerotek market research analyst. “There is almost always going to be time and opportunity to course correct. As an example, some of the engineers we work with are consciously taking the long-view. Many are strategically stringing together up to twenty contracting jobs over the course of a thirty or forty-year career. For some professionals, including some of those engineers, not all of those jobs will even necessarily be in the same skill or industry.”

In a market that allows and encourages professionals to become job seekers, Aerotek has the resources to assist with meaningful job placement while helping employees thoughtfully plan career moves that make the most sense.

As Aerotek’s Kerry Heffner said, “Control over your career destiny has replaced what we once thought of as job security in previous generations. The people who seem the most professionally gratified are the ones who take serious ownership of their careers. They are constantly putting themselves into position to learn and advance. It may sound obvious, but the successful ones all seem to realize at some point that being awesome isn’t enough, they have to have the will to advance.”

If you are interested in taking ownership of your career, visit our job board or create a free career account today. Upload your resume and customize your job search based on your skills and interests. And consider reaching out to our recruiters who are skilled at providing career advice you can use.