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  • Moving from "Serial Monogamous" Employment to "Speed Dating"

Moving from "Serial Monogamous" Employment to "Speed Dating"

Moving from

I received an interesting email yesterday with a link to an Infographic put together by Jobvite. It is an illustration of the changing relationship between workers and employer and indicates the current average worker will have up to 11 jobs in their career. 

The Infographic was accompanied by a press release and the data was also incorporated into Dan Finnigan's presentation at SXSW entitled: "The Future of Work: Serial Monogamy." During his presentation he draws the analogy that in our generation, moving from one employer to the next every 4-5 years is like serial monogamy. But the next generation is moving so frequently it's more like speed dating.

I am not sure this trend is news to anyone, but it is definitely time to start discussing the impact and what it means for employers. Jobvite does a nice job of setting the stage with some data they are collecting in their annual surveys.

  • 61 percent of employees are open to or actively looking for a new job opportunity 
  • More than 30 percent of employers expect their new hires to stay two years or less 
  • Less than 15 percent of employers think their average new hire will stay more than five years 
  • Men will average 11.4 jobs in their lifetime, 
  • Women 10.7 jobs 
  • According to recent statistics the median tenure for a worker’s current job is just 4.4 years; 
  • In California the average worker spends less time at a job than high school – an average of 3.0 years.

In Dan's SXSW presentation he lays out a whole lot more data that gives reasons for this shift and if you have time it is a good listen (you can listen here - I will post a link the slides if I can get my hands on them).

One statistic stood out from a survey of recent college grads, more than 50% think self employment is more secure than regular full time employment. He describes the mentality among the next generation of talent as viewing jobs as a way to gain experiences as a means to build their own career. 

Another key point he makes is the way we now look at a person's resume. Not that long ago, if you saw a resume where the candidate left a job in less than 5 years you would wonder why, might be a problem there. Today, for every year a person stays with an employer over five years, you wonder why they have not taken the initiative to advance themselves. While not everyone thinks this way, it rings true to me.

The implication of this trend is that employers need to start thinking about recruiting as a continuous and never ending priority. It is just like managing a sales pipeline where you need to generate new sources of revenue to make up for the annual customer churn rate.

Dan makes several suggestions about what employers can do to address this trend. Companies need to start building databases of prospects instead of just advertising specific jobs. Take college recruiting more seriously and build relationships with kids well before they are ready to graduate. Finally, we need to be better partners with our employees and accept the fact that we will eventually grow apart and just maximize the time we have them.

He goes on to discuss the growing prevalence of social media in the career management life cycle. Their data indicates that nearly nine out of 10 companies used social recruiting to find new hires in 2011. Likewise, more than 22 million Americans have used social networks to find their most recent job opportunity.

And while this is not necessarily an earth shattering revelation, I do think it reveals something significant. As the loyalty between employer and employee is disintegrating, people are becoming more reliant upon and loyal to their colleagues and mentors for career development. To be successful in this speed dating job market, employers better figure out how to hire individuals who come with a strong network of people that will want to come work with them again. With everyone using social media to maintain their connections, it shouldn't be so hard.

Dan suggests we will soon go beyond Search Engine Optimization and the next wave will be Social Network Optimization.

Your professional social network is becoming a competency just as important as any other skill or capability.


Categories: Industry Trends, Social Recruiting

About the Author

Ed Newman

Ed Newman

Chief Analyst

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