How often should you change jobs when you work in hospitality?
In today’s world, few professionals choose a job and remain in it until retirement. In fact, according to one source, workers who graduated between 2006 and 2010 changed jobs an average of nearly three times within their first five years after graduation. This is a significant increase when compared to the job change frequency of graduates between 1986 and 1990. The older group only averaged about 1.6 jobs in the same period.
Hospitality, in particular, is known for its high turnover. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that turnover within the industry increased to 72 percent in 2015 from nearly 67 percent in 2014. While turnover includes voluntary resignations as well as layoffs and discharges, the quits rate within the hospitality industry was a whopping 50 percent in 2015 as well. Basically, that means one out of every two hotel or restaurant employees chose to make a job change.
So how often should you join them? There really isn’t any one right answer. If you’ve started your career in an entry-level position and want to eventually advance to a senior management or executive role, you’ll likely need to change jobs (though not necessarily employers) multiple times as you move up the ladder. How frequently advancement opportunities present themselves will depend on how dedicated you are to growing your career and how aggressive you are in your pursuit of them.
Few, if any, employers will hold smart job changes—such as those that result in an increase in responsibility or allow you to broaden your overall skill set—against you, even if you’re making a move every year. On the other hand, hiring managers are likely to view hospitality professionals who jump from one nearly identical job to the next every few months negatively.
Before you make your next hospitality job change, ask yourself these questions to determine if you’re advancing your career or merely job hopping. If you’re doing the latter, it may make more sense to stay put until you’re presented with a real growth opportunity.
Why do you want to leave your current position? If the answer is because you want the opportunity to take on greater responsibility (an upward move) or broaden your knowledge of the industry (with an upward or lateral move into a different department or segment of the industry), then your change should be a good one.
If you want to leave because you hate your schedule, dislike your boss or don’t get along with your coworkers, then doing so with less than a year on the clock will look like job hopping.
Is there anything you can do in your current position to accomplish the same thing? If you’ve already mastered every job duty in your current roll, have you spoken to your supervisor about taking on new responsibilities or cross-training in another position or department? Depending on your employer, both may be possible and could lead to promotion without a need to move on to another hotel or restaurant.