It’s no secret that the youngest members of the workforce have some different ideas when it comes to employee loyalty and job tenure. Now, LinkedIn data shows just how common it is for recent graduates to job-hop.

New data published by LinkedIn
looked at the job patterns of college graduates in the classes of 2006-2010 (those who experienced the Great Recession during their first years in the workforce). While correlation doesn’t prove causation, they found a number of interesting things.

First, the data appears to show that job-hopping has steady increased over time with each subsequent generation changing jobs more frequently than the generation before them. The average number of companies professionals worked for in the 5 years after graduation has grown from 1.6 to 2.85, over the past 20 years.

After their first five years in the workforce, every generation’s job-hopping seems to slow down, however. Whether this is about “settling down” after early experiments, or having found a job or industry specialization they are keen to invest in, is unclear.

Second, industry-hopping is more common among recent graduates and Millennials (those graduating in the years 2001 to 2010) than previous generations. Certain industries seemed to experience more job-hopping than others. In particular, Media & Entertainment, Professional Services and Government, Education and Non-profits saw more job-hopping activity whereas the Oil & Energy, Manufacturing, Industrial and Transportation industries saw the least job turnover among recent graduates.

Finally, women seem more likely to change jobs than men in every generation. While LinkedIn reports that the differences are not statistically significant, the latest cohort of college graduates that LinkedIn studied (those graduating between 2006-2010) seemed to show the biggest difference between men and women when it came to job-hopping.

It’s unclear why this might be the case, and this Fast Company piece explores a number of theories ranging from the fact that women will decide to change jobs to support their work-life balance to the fact that job-switching actually provides “stability” in the new world economy. LinkedIn’s Chief Economist, Guy Berger, doesn’t believe that family concerns can explain the latest cohort of graduates’ behavior since those young women are unlikely yet to have children.

However, we’re not so sure this theory can be ruled out. The class of 2006 includes some now, 32 year olds and the average age for American women to have their first child is now 26. At any rate, Berger does observe that women’s choice of industry may have something to do with their increased job-hopping since women work in those industries which experience the most. And of course, these Recession-era grads may be experiencing the result of cyclical labor market fluctuations.

Whether you’re an employee or an employer, this data shows that job-hopping isn’t just in your imagination. Millennials are changing jobs frequently at the outset of their careers and millennial women, in particular, are the hardest group of employees to retain.


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