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One in four Gen Z and millennial workers have switched jobs at least twice in five years, according to an October 2023 study by Resume Builder. And, as most of those surveyed say they may change positions by the end of this year, job-hopping is continuing to become less of a red flag and more of a common strategy among young workers.

Respondents said the main reasons for changing companies include better working conditions, higher salaries, better benefits and more growth opportunities. But it’s not always about more money and better titles. Millennial Jennifer Denike, a 2021 Gulfshore Business 40 Under 40 alumna and nonprofit professional, became Harry Chapin Food Bank’s major gifts officer last October, leaving her previous position after less than a year when the opportunity arose.

“When I’m looking to make a move, I look for a nonprofit with a mission I believe in,” she says. She also considers how the job would affect her home life. “I look at the pros and cons—not just for myself, but also for my family. Does it give me the flexibility to be with my family when I need to be?”

Room to negotiate

Before leaving a job, Darcy Eikenberg, career coach and owner of Red Cape Revolution, said it’s essential to get clear on why.

“The first thing to recognize is the one thing you would change, because often we don’t stop and pinpoint it,” she says. “We get caught in the noise in our heads that says, ‘There’s something wrong so I have to leave.’ In today’s environment, we are not always doing the work to learn how to overcome that.”

Sometimes, transparent communication can resolve underlying issues that leave one feeling like better opportunities can only be found elsewhere.

“Oftentimes, we’ll make a choice instead of asking better questions around what a role needs,” Eikenberg says. “We often just give up too early once we feel that pain if something is uncomfortable rather than using it as a clue to ask better questions of ourselves. It may be worth sticking a situation out a little more to give yourself the chance to experiment, stretch and learn.”

Executive attention

Employers also can stand to sharpen communication skills to keep workers satisfied, challenged and well-compensated.

“There is a responsibility here on the employer to say, ‘If I’m seeing my turnover stats go up with Gen Z, instead of shrugging my shoulders and saying that’s just the generation, they’re not happy with anything,’” Eikenberg says to ask, “How am I creating opportunities to have better communication?”

Not the right fit

There comes a time when more than communication is needed for employees to stay put. “There’s a line when you’re to the point of not learning and have taken control of the places you can control, and it’s just not going to be a match,” Eikenberg says.

An intentional job search is the next step.

“People often confuse deciding to leave and leaving, and the two can be separated,” Eikenberg says. “You can make a decision to say, ‘We’re not a match anymore’ but not leave right away.” Instead, she suggests one gets clear about what they want in the next role, network and “do all the things it takes to do a good, solid job search and not just jump for the sake of jumping.”

Fresh into the working world, Gen Zers might start a new job to form a deeper connection with newly discovered interests.

“I think it’s important for young individuals to find something they’re passionate about, and maybe that will take some time,” Denike says. “Sometimes, what someone is passionate about is not necessarily their day-to-day job—so as a young individual, you might have to look at this as your job, but your passion is something extracurricular, and that’s OK too.”

When it feels right, leaving one job for another can benefit the employee and the employer.

“I think longevity is important within an organization, but sometimes a new individual can bring new ideas, as well, so it’s important to have new blood,” Denike says.

Copyright 2024 Gulfshore Life Media, LLC All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without prior written consent.

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