Millennial job hopping proves no barrier to getting hired for majority of Hong Kong employers

Job hopping within the finance and accounting industry is no longer a hindrance to being offered a job. Read more here.

  • Hong Kong CFOs consider someone who has made an average of five job changes over a 10-year period to be a job hopper. 
  • 60% say they would be willing to hire a candidate who has a history of job hopping. 
  • 87% think millennial generation workers in finance and accounting are job hoppers, compared to 24% for Baby Boomers professionals.  
  • Top three positive consequences for employees who change jobs frequently are higher salary progression (47%), learning skills faster (35%) and learning more skills (35%). 
  • Top three negative consequences for employees who change jobs frequently are missing out on promotions (45%), lack of job security (39%) and missing out on job opportunities (31%).

Job hopping (moving to a new employer frequently) within the finance and accounting industry is no longer a hindrance to being offered a job.  A new independently-conducted survey commissioned by specialised recruiter Robert Half shows Hong Kong’s CFOs consider someone who has made an average of five job changes within a 10-year period to be a job hopper, however six in 10 (60%) say they would be willing to hire a candidate who has a history of job hopping. 

Job hopping is overwhelmingly more prevalent among Hong Kong’s millennials [1] as almost nine in 10 (87%) Hong Kong CFOs think millennial-aged finance workers are job hoppers. This compares to only little over one in three (36%) CFOs who think Hong Kong’s Generation X [2] workers in finance and accounting are job hoppers and less than one in four (24%) who consider Baby Boomer [3] professionals to be job hoppers.  

The positives of job hopping 
While many employment changes in a short time span can give hiring managers cause for concern, Hong Kong employers understand there could be also advantages linked to changing jobs frequently. The positive consequences of job hopping for employees, as identified by Hong Kong CFOs, include: higher salary progression (47%), ability to learn faster (35%), ability to learn more skills (35%), opportunities to expand network (25%), and more experience in different industries (24%).   

Adam Johnston, Managing Director of Robert Half Hong Kong said: “Contrary to popular belief, many employers are not discounting candidates who have had several jobs over the past few years. Hong Kong is experiencing a generational shift in attitudes where job hopping is slowly losing its negative stigma within the finance and accounting industry, with millennial finance and accounting workers quick to embrace the benefits of changing jobs frequently.”

The negatives of job hopping 
Professionals who frequently change jobs should not disregard the potential pitfalls as switching employment on a regular basis can also have significant downsides. Hong Kong’s finance leaders have identified the negative consequences of job hoppers as: missing out on promotions (45%), lack of job security (39%), missing out on job opportunities (31%), missing out on being part of a team (24%) and missing out on professional development (19%). 

“While changing jobs on a regular basis has become more common in Hong Kong’s workforce, employers shouldn’t disregard the red flags job hopping could raise when hiring. Too many jobs in a short amount of time can be seen as a lack of career stability which could earn job hoppers a reputation for being disloyal, and hiring managers may consider this a negative investment when balanced with the costs of hiring. Indeed, changing jobs every few years might be the right strategy for many workers but, like any decision in a person’s career, it’s about getting the balance right and changing jobs for the right reason,” concluded Adam Johnston. 

[1] Millennials are those born between 1977 and 1995.

[2] Generation X are those born between 1965 and 1976.

[3] The Baby Boomer Generation are those born between 1946 and 1964.

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About the research
The annual study is developed by Robert Half and was conducted in December 2017 by an independent research firm, surveying 75 CFOs in Hong Kong. This survey is part of the international workplace survey, a questionnaire about job trends, talent management and trends in the workplace.  

  • 99% of Hong Kong CFOs have hired an employee that did not meet expectations, primarily because of underqualified candidates (48%), a mismatch of skills (39%) and candidates found to be lying on their CVs (28%).
  • 41% had to let the employee at hand go, while 33% respectively re-started the recruitment process and partnered with a staffing agency to secure a replacement.
  • Employers cite increased workload for colleagues (53%), increased stress on colleagues and managers (39%), and higher recruitment costs (33%) as the biggest consequences of a bad hire.

New independent research commissioned by specialised recruiter Robert Half shows the majority (99%) of Hong Kong CFOs have hired an employee that did not meet expectations, and more than one in three (37%) took just two weeks to discover that they have hired the wrong person.

According to the study of 150 CFOs, 37% typically realise within a fortnight that a new hire is not meeting expectations. The most common reasons given were underqualified candidates (48%), a mismatch of skills (39%) and candidates found to be lying on their CVs (28%).

What to do with a bad hire?

When asked what steps they took to address the poor hiring decision(s), 41% of CFOs say they terminated the employee contract, whilst 33% respectively re-started the recruitment process from scratch and partnered with a staffing agency to secure a replacement. Close to one-third (31%) of finance employers decided to deal with the matter internally by looking for an internal vacancy the candidate would be better suited for and 30% developed a training program to develop the employee’s skills to the desired level. Still less than one in four (23%) adopted a ‘wait and see’ approach to see if the employee’s performance would improve.

The cost of a bad hire

Hiring the wrong person for the job can significantly impact the organisation. The top three consequences of a bad hire according to finance employers are increased workload for colleagues (53%), increased stress on colleagues and managers (39%) and higher recruitment costs (33%). Other cited negative consequences include increased workloads for managers (27%), lost productivity (26%) and low staff morale (23%).

Bad hires can be highly costly for companies, though many Hong Kong companies struggle with accurately calculating the cost of hiring the wrong person. While 11% say they don’t track these costs, almost half (47%) fail to compile all the data in a single overview. Almost three in 10 (29%) say some costs are not accurately measurable and 9% admit they have not looked at doing it. Merely 3% say they do not find it challenging.

Adam Johnston, Managing Director of Robert Half Hong Kong said: “Businesses go to great lengths to find the right candidate, but the cost of not hiring an adequate employee can be significant. Whether organisations decide to terminate their employment or invest in additional training, it will impact the company financially and can cause significant disruption and stress to the existing workforce, indicating the importance of getting it right.”

“While some factors, such as cultural fit, attitude, or even the credibility of candidates’ qualification or experience, can be challenging to account for in an interview; an experienced interviewer and a rigorous hiring process can prevent a wrong hire to take place, such as by asking the right questions, thoroughly testing skills and meticulous reference checking. Employers would benefit from reviewing their hiring policies to ensure they strike the right balance between efficiency and rigour,” concluded Adam Johnston.

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About the research

The annual study is developed by Robert Half and was conducted in December 2017 by an independent research firm, surveying 150 CFOs in Hong Kong. This survey is part of the international workplace survey, a questionnaire about job trends, talent management and trends in the workplace. >

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