While some employers take job-hopping negatively, human resource practitioners said employees who have been stuck in the same position for five years could benefit by reviewing their career path

In Singapore’s tight labor market, human resource practitioners have found that workers have the luxury to cherry-pick positions to fill, and as such go “jobs shopping,” a term recently coined to describe the labor market’s state of affairs.

As a result, employees move from one job to another within a short time span. Human resources practitioners looked into the trend’s advantages and drawbacks.

Human Capital Singapore Chief Executive Ho Geok Choo said, “It really depends on the track record that this person came with. He could be moving from one job to another job or one industry to another industry, but if the reasons for his move are good reasons, then I think these are considerations when we make our selection.”

One of the good reasons include self-improvement or the will to broaden one’s skill set by utilizing the experience gained from filling a variety of positions.

Experts said that different businesses and industries would have different views when it comes to job-hopping. As such, it is difficult to label the phenomenon as “bad” across the board.

Therefore, human resource practitioners would ask, “Are you growing in your particular position? Or is there some form of progression?” These questions aim to influence whether an employee should stay, or go.

For instance, if an employee has been in the same role for more than five years and notices that nothing positive coming their way, experts said it is perhaps time to move on. However, if the employer rotates them to other positions and they see that responsibilities grow as promotions come, then it is not a bad idea to stick with one employer.

After all, Singapore’s national SkillsFuture movement aims to drive development of deep skills in workers. Deep skills are most useful when applied in a specialized area, which naturally involves building upon experience gained in a particular role.

Mr Adrian Tan, a job hunting coach at CareerLadder said, “As long as you can put across that there has been progression, there’s been differentiation, and you’re doing something slightly different because you are of a senior rank grade – so (maybe) right now you are doing a bit more of mentoring, coaching, training people – that could be seen as a progression. Rather than holding on to the same rank grade over the past eight years.”

Experts also noted that it would not be too useful to categorize stayers or quitters as “good” or “bad” employees. They added that it is more practical for companies to adapt to job-hopping as a trend that will persist, and for workers to learn continually, regardless of the job they are in.