So long job for life!

A few weeks back I wrote about the millennials and the Gen Z, and how businesses and employers need to change to attract and retain them.

Discussing this topic with a few of my clients, I can comfortably say that on average, the lifespan of an employee is two years, particularly in certain sectors. Job hopping is getting close to becoming the norm and employers seem to be resigning themselves that this is the future of businesses, and I must add that job hopping is not limited to the millennials and the Gen Z. Earlier generations would’ve aspired for a ‘job for life’ when starting their career, but are, nowadays, also moving on to other jobs.

The fact that leaders are considering this employment lifespan as the norm is worrying. There are huge impacts on businesses, not only in relation to the costs of recruitment and selection but also in productivity and training.

We need to start addressing this issue because the truth is very rarely that employees are purely leaving because of ‘better opportunities’. There are deeper underlying causes to seeking better opportunities. What can possibly be a better opportunity if you are happy and satisfied with your job? You’re probably answering this question with ‘better money’, ‘more flexibility’ or ‘they might not be happy doing what they’re doing.’; all of which are understandable and possible, but very rarely the push factor to resign.

I’ve been speaking to a number of employees who have left their job in the recent months and I’m sharing some of the reasons I’ve heard:

  1. “I felt like a number.”
  2. “My feedback was never appreciated.”
  3. “I was never listened to.”
  4. “I was never given the right induction and training to do my job well.”

If you are reading between the lines, there seems to be a leadership situation. The real and harsh truth is company leadership could’ve done something to stop their resignations.   Until top management starts to realise and recognise this, the situation won’t change. Truly valuing our people, by offering training and development, spending time with them to listen to their feedback and concerns, empowering them to explore different jobs, exposing and involving them to different things within the company, is key to stopping the business impact and consequences that job hopping is causing.


About the author

Maria Zahra is Managing Director of SurgeAdvisory. She has over fifteen years of human resources and business advisory experience.