Barbie’s Guide to Job Hopping

By   |   July 19th, 2018   |   0 Comments

barbie job hoppingBarbie® was integral to my childhood playtime, creating my own imaginary world, picturing myself as a veterinarian, or even a rock star someday. After all, Barbie said I could be anything! I didn’t foresee my adult work life actually intersecting with one of America’s most iconic toys, especially during an out-of-the-blue conversation with my 8-year-old child about job hopping.


Mom, did you know Barbie has had 130 careers in her lifetime? AND, she’s only 58 years old!” That’s a new job every six months!” – my 8-year-old


“Barbie is a job hopper, my dear.” – my response


That’s some deep thinking by a child that already recognizes the concept of a career change in elementary school! The stats might be even higher, as the official Barbie media website indicates she’s had more than 150 careers on her resume. Born in 1959, that’s more than two new careers per year. Plus, Barbie wasn’t just changing jobs, she was going from an equestrian to an executive, a beekeeper to a bakery chef!


As a baby boomer, Barbie certainly fits the mold as a workaholic. However, she was definitely above average and ahead of her time in terms of job hopping. Traditionally, older workers aren’t changing jobs as often as their younger co-workers. We tend to encourage career exploration in childhood, but hopping from job-to-job can be concerning once you hit adulthood.


It’s been estimated that the average person changes jobs about 12 times in their life. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the median number of years workers had been with their current employer was 4.2 years (January 2016). Younger generations are moving even quicker; Millennials are often jumping through a new job every couple of years after college graduation. This job hopping activity coincides with the stereotypical confident, goal-oriented, entrepreneurial Millennial looking for advancement opportunities. The next new Generation Z beginning to enter the workforce is also eager to learn, focused on the future and working for success.


As an employer, you may need to adjust how you define “job hopper.” Many employees find that the fastest way to elevate their income and career trajectory is by changing jobs, most frequently with a new employer. Rather than looking only at the years (months or weeks) in a candidate’s job history, aim to understand the reasons behind career jumps, or look for career progression.


These hopping trends also urge employers to think ahead. The trend necessitates a smooth and accelerated onboarding and training process, to get employees up to speed as soon as possible. Then employers can turn the focus to retaining their best “Barbies.”


If you’ve had someone hop, or are looking for a hopper, let help you find talent.

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