How Often Do You Change Jobs?

December 2, 2019

Should I stay or should I go?

It was a question posed by the rock band The Clash in the 1980s. It’s also one people contemplating their current job situation ask.

In this blog, we explore job turnover, average employment tenures and things to consider in determining when it’s time to change jobs.

A March 15, 2018 article in the Canadian HR Reporter quoted a LinkedIn study which showed annual turnover rate in Canada is 16 per cent, fourth highest in the world behind France (21 per cent), the United Kingdom (17.6 per cent) and Australia (17.5 per cent). The United States was 13 per cent.

In 2014, Workopolis examined 7,000,000 resumes in their resume database and determined that working-aged Canadians would work an average of 15 jobs in their careers:

According to Statista, a statistics portal for market data, market research and market studies, the average tenure for employees in Canada is 8.5 years.

This ranges from management occupations at (12.6 years) to sales and service jobs (6.2 years) to health positions (9.5 years) to trades, and transportation and equipment operators and related occupations (8.2 years). See full 2018 analysis here:

The statistics in Alberta vary from these, according to the March 2018 issue of the Alberta Government’s Labour Market Insights newsletter: “The average job tenure in Alberta has increased in the last three years, from 88.2 weeks in 2014 to 91.4 weeks in 2017 (essentially 1.5 to almost two years). The increase has been concentrated in young (those aged 15 to 24) and prime-age (aged 25 to 44) workers.

“Since 2014, job tenure among young workers and prime-aged workers has risen in Alberta 2.2 weeks and 5.4 weeks, respectively, while tenure for older workers (aged 45 and over) has been virtually unchanged.”

These are interesting figures. For all of us, the question is how often should you change jobs?  There’s always that thought of the dream job awaiting us. On the other hand, you don’t want to be seen as randomly hopping jobs by prospective employers.

When considering a career move, are you doing so for greater learning opportunities, more responsibility or additional training possibilities? Is better pay motivating your job search? Have you found you are stuck in a rut or in a challenging or toxic work environment?

Having several jobs over a short amount of time does not send up the same red flags it once did. Employers recognize that we have an increasingly mobile workforce that may involve one member of a couple being transferred or being attracted to a job in another community. Layoffs, restructuring or downsizing can all lead to more frequent job changes.

While job hopping may not have the same stigma attached to it, we encourage you to consider how a new position fits into your overall career strategy.

Here are some resources discussing the pros and cons of job searching and how to address career gaps on your resume.

Staff at The Work Place in Grande Prairie can guide eligible unemployed or underemployed clients (visit for details) on how to address career gaps in your resume.

They can also assist you with your other job search tools and ensure you’re using all the resources available to you, including accessing potential training opportunities (see contact details below). Your strategies may include updating or acquiring new skills.

Adrienne Tom, an award-winning resume writer, interview coach and job search strategist in Calgary also covered the top of job hopping in a recent blog:

The blog links to a discussion on LinkedIn. Here are a few of the responses:

“I think it completely depends on the generational perspective you’re coming from. I have found that many folks in the older generation still view job hopping as a risk, but millennials align with the idea that changing roles can result in higher negotiations. At the end of the day, there’s no one RIGHT answer, but something that my Dad said when I was first starting my career has stayed with me:  “A company will only be as loyal to you as what makes financial sense for them.” So yes, be loyal to an extent – but ultimately, you have to look out for your career. Because if you won’t, who will?” – Jena Viviano, Career Coach & Strategist, Franklin Tennessee.

Adrienne responded: “I think you’ve nailed it Jena Viviano – a person needs to look out for themselves.  A successful career isn’t up to an employer, it is up to each individual.  For some, this may mean staying with a right-fit employer who rewards and compensates accordingly.  For others, this may mean exploring new roles that offer new opportunities, skill sets, or challenges.”

Jeanine McNulty, an HR executive in Houston Texas added, “I think there are many factors related to job hoppers that not all recruiters or hiring managers take into consideration (and I am a hiring manager, so I like to have the conversation with the applicant). Often times, the job hopping is out of their control: layoffs, closures, relocation due to spouse or other family circumstances as has been the case in my own career.

“I also see employees leaving not just because of pay but because organizations fail to promote their value within the organization through providing educational opportunities, advancement within the organization, mentoring programs, providing recognition and respect-it’s often times not about leaving for more money it’s about new challenges and opportunities for growth and being valued.”

Amir Muradali, a career and leadership coach, trainer, author and speaker, in Calgary, responded: “This is a complex topic because yes, some companies still value loyalty, and also yes, companies can see your job changes as a positive sign of ambition.  Further yes, changing jobs can mean you earn higher – although that isn’t a guarantee.  And yes we are in a new volatile environment with a lot more frequent layoffs, so that candidate who appears to be a job hopper from their resume isn’t by choice.”

Ana Lokotkova, Career Advisor, LinkedIn Personal Branding, Interview Coach in Calgary, commented: “Very interesting topic! I think a lot depends on the specific situation. Employers do value loyalty, but, as you mentioned, times are changing. Someone who may have been labeled as a job hopper in the past wouldn’t be labeled so today, because there is more and more project-based work, and people don’t always have a linear career progression.”

Ultimately, there are many factors to consider as you consider various job opportunities. A good question to ask yourself is whether you are looking for another job or is it a career move?

If you want more help with your job search at no cost, contact us at 780-539-5477. You can send enquiries to Our office is located at #105, 9840-97th Ave., Grande Prairie.

 We also help employers find qualified candidates.