3 Years: The Ideal Duration of a Job (According to Employers)

Staying in a job for 3 years would be the ideal duration for employers, according to Indeed. For employees… six months! Results of a survey on perceptions of professional leapfrogging.

In 2018, professionals are changing career often and accumulating more jobs than the baby boomers did. Adaptability, curiosity, variety and volatility: these are the values that at least a majority of respondents appear to favour in a survey conducted by Indeed. They indicate that they regard frequent switching from one job to another to be a wealth. The survey, conducted in Asia but whose conclusions are interesting to put in parallel with the North American situation, even indicates that a period of six months in the same job would be enough in their eyes.

“I could consider these employees correct only if they are in the IT sector,” exclaims Dawn Williams, president of the Sirius Personnel recruitment firm. It is indeed good form to flit from one job to another in the world of startups, but in the majority of other sectors employers value the exact opposite. “The majority of employers with whom I do business in the world of sales and marketing ask me eliminate the resumes of candidates who have held three or more jobs over the last 5 years. Like it or not, job stability is still a behaviour valued by employers.”

Indeed states that 76% of employers refuse to interview candidates with a leapfrogging profile. In a proportion of 43%, those who hired them anyway say they later regretted it.

Bosses actually expect to retain their employees in the same position for at least 17 months, if not three good years. “Three years is actually a minimum to make the employee’s training worthwhile,” adds Dawn Williams. “It must be understood that each employee is costly for the employer. Three years is also sufficient time for the employee to really master his position and to have experienced all angles of the job, the good sides as well as the bad, the good times and the troughs of the wave.”

According to the recruitment specialist, professional leapfrogging is often associated with problematic candidates “for whom employers suspect social behaviour problems or a lack of investment in their job”. Not to mention the fact that, as the Indeed survey also indicates, employee volatility also affects the company’s image and can compromise its relations with certain customers.

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