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The pros and cons of being a highly qualified job hopper in the Financial Services sector

by Heat Recruitment

Job hopping isn’t the career death knell it used to be. In fact, nearly a third of employers have come to expect it from job seekers. While more than half have hired a job hopper, however, others still favour more ‘loyal’ candidates.

If you possess the specific expertise financial services require, you have a good chance of getting snapped up regardless of your tenure history – if you’re proactive that is. Limited skills availability is perceived by 70% of Financial Service CEOs as a threat to growth, yet technology often skews their recruitment focus to ‘active’ job seekers, neglecting the more passive but often higher performing candidates.

As a highly qualified professional in a fast-evolving market, frequent job changes can be beneficial – constructive even. Job hopping now requires a carefully thought out, strategic approach if it’s to take your career in the right direction. For starters, job hopping keeps you current. As you’re all too aware, financial regulations and processes are in constant flux. New roles require you to refresh your knowledge.

Not only that, but applying your knowledge across several organisations or industries demonstrates adaptability. As the ability to adapt is a source of competitive advantage for businesses, it’ll give you the edge too. PwC note in their new research on talent in Financial Services that: “Survival and success within this fast-changing marketplace demands people who are creative, digitally-savvy and can adapt quickly to constant change.”

The variety that job hopping provides also enables you to experience different systems, structures and management styles, while building a wider network of contacts – all of which make you a more valuable asset.

Job hopping usually means you’re quicker to onboard and integrate into teams as well – which means less training, less need for management attention and, ultimately, less cost to the business. Although if the employer thinks you’re a flight risk and anticipates a high premium to replace you, this may pale into insignificance.

While 2017 has generally seen businesses increase their focus on long-term employee engagement, some businesses may only require a short-term or interim placement to drive projects forward. In these instances, they’d much rather choose short-term excellence over long-term mediocrity.

Another pro to job hopping is the ‘insider information’ it gives you, which can be a very tempting card for prospective employers and something long-standing employees are unlikely to be able to provide. We’re not talking insider trading or anything un-towards of course, what we mean is that by working across multiple organisations you gain invaluable insights of the most effective tactics and strategies that can have a measurable impact on their bottom line.

That said, it’s best to avoid coming across as capricious in the first instance. Showing valid reasons for job moves such as ambition or career development, and then demonstrating progression, can quickly put any questions about your decision-making competency to bed.

While job hopping might raise suspicions about your staying power for some employers, it’ll provide others with reassurance of your credibility and reputation – particularly if your moves have been propelled by promotions or offers from more prestigious organisations. Don’t underestimate the value of good referees either. Even if you’re only with a company a short time, you can still prove you’re reliable, committed and responsible by supporting your replacement and tying up loose ends.

On the down side, there’s less stability in job hopping; you may complete multiple probation periods only to leave shortly after each. You then lose out on long-term employee perks such as pension schemes, additional leave and training. You may also need to overcome a steep learning curve to get up to speed in successive roles. This can be draining and you won’t always have a higher salary to show for it. On the other hand, the sense of fulfilment you get from generating impactful, short-term gains can more than compensate.

Job hopping doesn’t have the stigma it used to. In fact, with more millennials entering the workplace the tendency to job hop is expected to increase. And with it, some of that competitive edge could now could become less defined. Then again, there’s a lot to be said for experience.

If your skills are in high demand you shouldn’t have a problem finding a new role. Who knows – it might be so appealing it’ll put an end to your job-hopping days for good.