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An Exploratory Study on Job Hopping in Sri Lanka: A Study on Generation ‘Y’ Employees



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Dharmawansha P.A.P.N
Department of Human Resources Management, University of Colombo
Thennakoon T.M.N.D
Department of Human Resources Management, University of Colombo
Job Hopping is a major challenge
that can be observed in the today’s labor
market, with the new generation working in
the modern world of work. The researcher
sheds light on this matter from the
employees’ and employers’ point of view,
with the intention of identifying the reasons,
challenges and consequences of job hopping.
This study concentrates on the Sri Lankan
context as the studies in the western
organizational contexts regarding Job
Hopping, may not be applicable to
organizations in Sri Lanka, due to economic,
social and cultural differences. As per the
findings related to Sri Lankan context, the
first five reasons for employees to job hop
are, pay package, career growth, working
environment and culture, reputation of the
organization and job security. The researcher
also found differences in the nature of job
hopping with regard to gender, level of
education, industries the employees are
employed in, and also the uncertainty
avoidance behavior of employees in Sri
Lanka. However, both employees and HR
managers see the pros and cons of job
hopping, and accept employee behavior of
job hopping.
Key Words: Job Hopping, Generation
‘Y’ers, Labour Turnover
1. Introduction
With the changing paradigm of
Human Resource Management, employees
are considered a major capital for todays’
organizations (Armstrong, 2011, p. 11). As it
is further emphasized by Armstrong (2011)
it is necessary to adopt a longer term
perspective in managing people and
consideration of people as a potential asset,
rather than merely a variable cost.
Organizations’ success is dependent on their
ability to attract, develop and retain
[Emphasis added] talented employees (Sims,
2007, p. 4). But employee turnover;
especially voluntary turnover has been
increasingly becoming a challenge for
today’s human resource managers (Hom,
Mitchell, Thomas, & Griffeth, 2012).
Having ample opportunities in the
job world, people tend to change the
organizations of employment (Job Hopping)
based on various factors. Thus, it is worthy
to view through the lens of HR managers,
the factors that influence job hopping, so
that this challenge can be explored further.
The ultimate result of turnover can be in
various forms. Hom et al, (2012) identify
post-exit destination of leavers to be another
job, full-time parenting, educational pursuits
etc. In case of the post-exit destination
becomes another job, there are more
consequences to be faced by managers of
organizations. Maliranta, Mohnen, and
Rouvinen, (2008, p. 3) state that,
labour mobility [Emphasis added]
is among the most likely ways of
knowledge transfer.
According to personal observations
of the researcher, this behaviour of
employees, moving from one organization to
another, is more common among employees
who are less than 30-35 years of age on
average. The background study on this
research revealed that the currently
employed people who are less than 35 can
be categorized as Generation ‘Y’ers.
However, there are various aspects
addressed in past research to identify the
reasons behind this behaviour, which are
termed as labour mobility, voluntary
turnover, inter-firm mobility or as ‘Job
Hopping’ as termed in this study. However
there is a dearth of studies done on the
concept locally creating a solid background
to explore job hopping within the Sri Lankan
2. Objectives of the Study
As per the introduction to the study
given above, the main objectives of the
study are, a) To identify the reasons for job
hopping in the Sri Lankan context, b) To
explore the nature of job hopping in Sri
Lanka, c) To assess how employees perceive
job hopping, and d) To assess how
employers perceive job hopping, specifically
among Generation Y employees.
This paper flows with the literature
review, research methodology, discussion,
findings and the conclusion.
3. Literature Review
3.1 Defining Job Hopping
According to Khatri et al. (1999),
the definition of job hopping behaviour
varies from one country to another. In the
study of Khatri et al. (1999), the behaviour
of employees changing their jobs or
organization of employment from time to
time has been termed as voluntary turnover,
employee turnover and as job hopping.
According to Ghiselli (1974), some workers
have the natural internal impulse to move
from one job to another job for sometimes
no rational reason (as cited by Feng &
Angeline, 2010). This has been identified by
them as a ‘hobo syndrome’ and defined as
“... the periodic itch to move from a job in
one place to some other job in some other
place”. Khatri et al. (1999) extends the
definition of “hobo syndrome’ of Ghiselli
(1974) by adding social influences or
turnover culture to the definition of job
hopping. But none of the above authors
specify whether this leads to a change in the
profession or area of specialization or
discipline; or merely a change in workplaces
retaining within the same discipline or
profession. However, they have mentioned
that the driving force for job hopping can be
either a personal itch or social influence.
However, there are two components that can
be discovered of this entire behaviour. The
first is, employees leaving the current
organisation; and the second is, joining
another organisation. The research of Taylor
and Zimmerer (1992), concludes that
voluntary turnover is only a part of job
Therefore, the definition of job
hopping with reference to this study will be
‘employees shifting from one organization
to another at the employee’s discretion’.
3.2 Nature of Job Hopping
As it was cited by Khatri et al.
(1999), several studies have reported that
higher the age, tenure and the income level
of the employee, lower the turnover; i.e.
intention to quit (Arnold & Feldman, 1982;
Cotton & Tuttle, 1986; Gerhart, 1990).
Cotton and Tuttle (1986) suggest
that the more educated the employees are,
the more they quit. Many research studies
have come up with a link between labour
mobility and the training level of employees.
Korpi and Mertens (2003) claim that
mobility after completion of an
apprenticeship is relatively high.
The nature of job hopping also differ
based on the industry that the employees
work for. For example, once an employee
gain industry specific skills or occupation
specific skills, such employees would hop
among several firms in the same industry,
but not in different occupations (Korpi &
Mertens, 2003).
The findings on Job Hopping in
relation to the gender are very contradicting.
Weisberg and Kirschenbaum (1993) have
found females quit more while Berg (1991),
while Miller and Wheeler (1992) and Wai
and Robinson (1998) found no relationship
between gender and Job Hopping.
Meanwhile there are findings from Elaine
(1997) and Summers and Hendrix (1991) (as
cited by Khatri et al. (1999), that claim
males are more likely to quit than females.
Chew (1996) states that job hoppers
used to find alternative employment before
quitting their jobs but the trend is to leave
even before they have secured any
alternative appointments (as cited by Feng &
Angeline, 2000).
Hamori (2010) finds that 30% of
moves from one organization to another are
demotions and 24% of moves are from a
small name to a big name involving step
down in title. She further states that 17% had
experience in three or more industries.
As it is described above the nature
of job hopping can be explored in terms of
age, education level, industry, gender etc.
3.3 Reasons for Job Hopping
Past researchers have found several
reasons that result in job hopping. Once all
these factors are considered broadly, they
can be categorized into three groups as
personal, organizational and social.
As Taylor and Zimmer (1992)
explain, overwork, insecurity, confusion,
downsizing are some reasons for voluntary
turnover and they can be considered as
organisational factors. Some other
organisational factors that can lead to high
level of job hopping are lack of training,
lack of career opportunities and challenging
work provided by the organization,
leadership problems (Hartman & Yrle,
1996), unfair treatment for a co-worker,
being passed over for promotion, or being
asked to do something against one’s beliefs
(Mitchell et al., 2005).
Some of the personal factors that
result job hopping are, the need to work in
teams, need for better pay, and the need for
connection and challenge (Alper, 1994).
Other person specific reasons for job
hopping as demonstrated by Taylor and
Zimmer (1992) are emotional stress,
overwork and insecurity. They are identified
as the person specific reasons because the
stress, workload etc. are determined based
on the each person’s capacity. Apart from
these, a person can be influenced to decide
to quit from a work place for personal
reasons such as family obligations, location
problems, problems with other employees,
need to change or to try new places, peers
leaving the place (Hartman & Yrle, 1996),
changes in family situation, a desire to learn
a new skill or trade or an unsolicited job
offer (Mitchell et al., 2005).
However, it should be noted that
pay’ was not emphasized in past literature
as a reason for job hopping. Supporting that,
James (1991) stated that “Money is not the
main reason” for labour turnover which
Khatri et al. (1999) concluded in their study
that satisfaction with pay was important only
in one industry (retail) out of six.
As noted by Abelson (1993),
reasons such as social pressure from core
workers (also called peer pressure) can
create a turnover culture which will result
the employees hop to another job.
While all reasons described above
were from the micro context, there are
reasons from the macro context that result in
many people to hop jobs. Leidner and Smith
(2013) have found that fast growing
economies and changing demand for labour
has lead lifetime employment outdated.
They have come up with more reasons apart
from monetary and micro factors such as
globalization and short-termism which have
made a shift in employment behaviour.
Seeing the matter from a macro perspective,
Inagami (1998) also states that labour
shortages in certain economic sectors or
conditions will also result in people
changing the organization of employment.
3.4 Consequences of Job Hopping
3.3.1 Consequences of Job Hopping to
Khartri et al. (1999), stress that
organizations suffer from low productivity,
high cost of recruitment and poor quality of
products and services due to high turnover,
which in turn can be explained as high Job
It is a common fact that
organizations have to bear the cost of
replacing an employee (Leidner & Smith,
2013; Fallick, Fleischman, & Rebitzer,
2006, Mitchell et al., 2005). Cost of
replacement will include advertising,
processing of candidates, interviewing,
selection and finally the training costs. The
other direct cost related to job hopping can
be exit interview time, administrative
requirements, payout of unused vacation
time, the cost of temporary workers or
overtime for co-workers etc. (Mitchell et
al., 2005).
Apart from the direct costs
discussed above, there can be indirect
costs that are related to Job Hopping that
give an advantage to the competitors at
less or no cost.
Not only Job Hopping, even the
employees having the expectation to
change the organization of employment
will affect negatively even to the
performance of the organization (Pearce
and Randel, 2004). According to Hauw
and Vos (2010), these expectations of
employees can have a detrimental effect
on organizational outcomes such as job
satisfaction, commitment, job performance
and intention to stay [Emphasis added].
While this is the case for most of the
employers, blue chip companies such as
Apple, Time-Warner, Sun Microsystems and
British Petroleum have publicly stated that
their human resource practices such as
career planning counselling encourage their
employees to consider organization mobility
to develop their employability, self-reliance,
career planning (Pearce & Randel, 2004).
3.3.2 Consequences of Job Hopping to
the employees
Concluding an eight-year research
project, Hamori (2010) writes, it is not true
that switching employers offer a fast track to
the top jobs because the “footloose
executives are not more upwardly mobile
than the single-company colleagues”. Korpi
and Mertens (2003) say that too frequent job
switches may lead to loss of human capital
and become a signal of limited
Having said that, it is noteworthy
that Thorman (2012) comes up with ten
plus points of job hopping that ultimately
inspire people to job hop. She identifies
job hopping as an opportunity for
employees to widen the choice of jobs and
as a “precursor to the future of careers”.
Fox’s (2012) opinion on job hopping is that
people need to change their places of
employment even when they are
comfortable at the current working place.
3.5 Defining Generation Y
Delcampo et al. (2011) and
Cennamo and Gardner (2008), state that it is
difficult to precisely define generations.
Instead, a generation can be defined as a
collective set of attributes, behaviours, core
values and experiences (as cited by Helyer
& Lee, 2012). Cennamo and Gardner (2008)
cite a definition of Kupperschmidt (2000)
for Generation as “an identifiable group that
shares birth years, age location, and
significant life events at critical
developmental stages”.
In the study of Helyer and Lee
(2012), the Generation Y is considered as
people who were born in between the year
1979-1991. According to that definition, age
of a Generation ‘Y’er must be 22-34 years
by now [in 2013]. Weyland (2011) defined
Generation Y as those who were born in the
1980s and 1990s. In another study which
was focused on Generation Y, the
Generation ‘Y’ers were defined as those
who were born in between the years 1982-
1995. Cennamo and Gardner (2008)
consider the ones who were born in 1980
and afterwards as Generation ‘Y’ers.
According to Cui, Trent, Sullivan and
Maitru. (2003), generations ‘Y’ers must be
19-35 years in 2013 because they consider
Generation ‘Y’ers as the 71 million
individuals born between 1977 and 1994.
3.5.1 Characteristics of Generation
Almost all the studies done on
Generations have found that by nature,
Generation ‘Y’ers are less loyal to their
working organizations (D’Amato &
Herzfeldt, 2008; Helyer & Lee, 2012). As it
is cited by Hauw and Vos (2010), these
employees’ expectations regarding employer
inducements are extremely high (Smola &
Sutton, 2002; Twenge and Campbell, 2008).
Generation ‘Y’ers are achievement oriented,
team oriented, challenge colleagues, tech-
savvy and family centric (Kane, 2011).
Zemke et al. (2000), (as cited in Cennamo &
Gardner, 2008) finds Generation Y’ers
valuing work/life balance, life styles, career
development and overseas travel more than
other generations. According to Cennamo
and Gardner (2008), the values of
Generation ‘Y’ers are more freedom-related.
The expectations of Generation ‘Y’ers
respectively are the work life balance,
social connections and career
advancement, training and development
and meaningful well paid jobs (Hauw &
Vos, 2010). However, they [Generation
‘Y’ers] by nature are skills-hungry as
cited by D’Amato and Herzfeldt (2008)
and less concerned about job security
(Dries et al, 2008).
It is noteworthy the review of
literature on the reasons for job hopping,
‘money’ or ‘the pay’ was not given
emphasis as expected. Supporting that,
Weyland (2011) states that Generation
‘Y’ers’ main concern is to do meaningful
work in an environment that gives them
stimulation, responsibility, fun and
flexibility, but not to earn salary and status.
This is in par with the study of Zemke et al.
2000, who said that the Generation ‘Y’ers
look for career development. However Dries
et al. (2008) show that salary is still an
important work value that helps to determine
career success for all generations (as cited
by Hauw & Vos, 2010).
Going by the definition given by
Delcampo, Haggerty, Haney, and Knippel.
(2012) for Generations, the common
attributes of Generation ‘Y’ers mentioned in
almost every research study, is that they are
more willing to change jobs (Helyer & Lee,
2012; Weyland, 2011; Deloitte, 2009).
Considering this attribute as the pertinent
collective feature to define Generation Y,
employees who are under 35 years of age by
the year 2013 will be considered as
Generation ‘Y’ers for this study.
3.6 Job Hopping and Generation Y
When all the characteristics of
Generation ‘Y’ers and reasons for job
hopping are taken into consideration, a close
relationship can be observed. Evidencing
that fact, in the study of Helyer and Lee
(2012), they say that it is often stated that
Generation ‘Y’ers are “more willing to
change jobs if they are not fulfilled or
satisfied with the balance between personal
and professional life or employment benefits
such as gym membership, flexible working,
holidays and so on”. They further state that
Generation ‘Y’ers are difficult to recruit,
retain, motivate and manage. Yet,
Generation ‘Y’ears will be the highest
performing workforce in history.
With a contradicting view, Weyland
(2011) claims that accommodating
motivational factors of Generation ‘Y’ers is
not something tiring (“does not require huge
amount of extra effort”), but something that
needs a different thinking. Having a similar
finding, Deliotte (2009) mentions that
Generation ‘Y’ers value opportunity over
job security and trust superiors expecting to
work with them.
Whatever said and done, it is the
Generation ‘Y’ers who will be in the
workforce at present and in the future. What
employers can and have to do is to
understand the generation, their pluses and
minuses and to get the best out of them,
fulfilling their expectations. Thus, it can be
concluded that it is meaningful and is of
worth to seek a way for Human Resources
Managers to retain generation ‘Y’ers, who
are now [2013] in the workforce and will be
in the workforce for next 20-30 years.
4. Research Methodology
This study is an exploratory study
that aims to see how a particular behaviour
of the society has been evolved. The
reasons for job hopping and the nature of
job hopping are to be investigated
mainly through interviews.
As Saunders et al. (2009) suggest,
this research falls under interpretivism
philosophy as interpretivism philosophy is
highly appropriate for researches which fall
into the fields like business and
management, organizational behaviour,
human resources management. Following
the inductive approach, a close
understanding of the research context will be
achieved through a collection of qualitative
data, utilizing the qualitative methodology.
The researcher utilized the below
methods to arrive at solutions for the
research questions. The researcher expects
to identify the perceptions of job hopping
among the employers and managers by
interviewing them.
3.6.1 Data Collection
Both primary and secondary data
was utilized to conduct this research
because, primary data are useful to find
research specific findings while secondary
data are useful to analyse findings of
previous research studies. Semi-structured
interviews were used as the main data
collection tool in this study.
3.6.2 Sampling
The researcher used non-probability
sampling as the issue studied is usually not
equal in all cases (i.e. Subjective
judgements), so the population is unknown.
In this study, both snowball sampling and
convenience sampling was used due to the
fact that it is difficult to identify the
members of the desired population.
Considering the time constraints
and to maintain the level of quality of the
study, the sample size for this study will
be 30. Since the research questions are
more related to the employee side, 80% of
the sample (i.e. 25 individuals) will be
employees. For respondent triangulation
purposes, the other 20% of the sample is
HR managers.
The researcher also tried to maintain
the balance between the males and female
interviewees. The sample of 25 employees
consists of 14 males and 11 females. All the
interviewees were knowledge workers as the
researcher wanted to maintain a balance in
terms of living status, education level etc. as
Accurate, unbiased primary data
were directly collected from the sample
through in depth interactive personal
interviews, conducted according to a pre-
planned structure.
Data collected from in-depth
interviews were summarized through a
process of transcription. Thereafter the data
with similar nature were taken under broader
headings which was used for analysis.
4 Data Analysis, Research Findings
and Discussion
4.1. Frequency of job hopping
The researcher firstly wanted to see
the frequency of job hopping in Sri Lanka.
The calculation was done, considering the
number of years employees work in one
organization. As it was clearly
As it is clearly shown in Table 1,
the employers can expect that their
employees in general will retain at the
organization for 3 years. This is a finding
that is consistent with the findings of past
literature that said that the average number
of years an employee retain in one
organization is 3.3 years (Leidner and Smith,
Table 1: Avearage number of years employed in one organization
Source: Researchers own construction based on interview data
5.2.2 The reasons for job hopping in Sri
Reasons for job hopping clearly has
two parts to it. One is the reasons that make
employees leave one organization and the
second is the reasons that employees join
another organization.
4.2 Reasons to leave an employer
As it is very clearly depicted in the Table 2,
the very first reason an employee considers
to retain or leave an employee is ‘the
pay/salary’. Once the basic salary
component is met, employees start to worry
about the other facilities. The higher the
position of the employee, higher their
expectations for the other benefits. However,
what the researcher could understand when
analysing the results was that, the employees
do not consider the pay and the other
benefits separately but the compensation
package as a whole. Even though some
employees did not specifically mention
‘other benefits’ when stating the reasons for
quitting, they meant pay/salary with the need
of benefits too. Yet, basic pay/ salary is
much helpful to attract employees while the
benefits help to retain them. Thus this is a
fact that is contradicting with what James
(1991), who said “money is not the main
reason” for labour turnover. Yet it can be
argued that James (1991) was not
mentioning the Generation ‘Y’ers. Still in
the list of job expectations of Generation
‘Y’ers prepared by Hauw and Vos (2010),
1. 7
Average No. of years employed in
one organization
Table 2: Reasons to leave an organization
A (25)
B (22)
C (13)
D (6)
E (1)
Career path
Management problems
Job security
Other benefits and facilities
Work load
Reputation of the organization
Working culture
Working environment
Nature of the field
Training and learning
Working hours
Personal reasons
Need for new experience/change
Better offers
Involuntary reasons
Personnel development
Challenging work
Work just for satisfaction
Source: Researchers own construction based on interview data
A= Number of times the reason has affected to leave/retain the first employment
B= Number of times the reason has affected to leave/retain in the second employment
C= Number of times the reason has affected to leave/retain in the third employment
D= Number of times the reason has affected to leave/retain in the fourth employment
E= Number of times the reason has affected to leave/retain in the fourth employment
F= Total number of times the reason has affected the employees to leave organizations
the pay factor found to be the
last/sixth factor. Weyland (2011) also stated
that their [Generation ‘Y’ers] main concern
is meaningful work, responsibility and
flexibility, but not to earn salary and status.
However the research demonstrates that that
the reality in Sri Lanka is more or less
supported by Dries et al. (2008) who said
that salary is still an important work value
that helps determine career success for all
As the Table 2 shows, the second
most mentioned reason that makes
employees leave an organization is career
growth. Employees in Sri Lanka seem to be
very vigilant about their career prospects.
Being Generation ‘Y’ers, as Delcampo et al.
(2011) claimed, they contribute now for the
future. This is consistent with the findings of
the Hartman and Yrle (1996) who also found
career advancement as a reason for
voluntary turnover. This reason must have a
link between the age of the employees as
well. Cennamo and Gardner (2008) find
career advancement as one of the
expectations of Generation ‘Y’ers.
The third major reason that
influence employees leave organizations
need to be emphasized because this is an
organizational factor that sometimes made
employees compromise their high pay and
other factors too to leave the organization.
That is the problems with the management.
Weyland (2011) also said that this is a
characteristic of Generation ‘Y’ers to leave
jobs, when the leadership is weak, even
when they enjoy the work.
The researcher can agree with the
reasons found by Taylor and Zimmer (1992)
as this study also proves that work overload
and insecurity are reasons for job hopping.
However work overload was not a problem
especially for male employees (except for
females who had family obligations) given
that they are compensated for their extra
work. Though Deliotte (2009) also
mentioned that Generation ‘Y’ers value
opportunity over job security, it is not the
case in Sri Lanka. Even the employees of the
sample of this study, considered job security
considerable in many cases.
Another major factor which was not
emphasized in the past literature, but was
considered mostly by the Sri Lankan
employees is that of the reputation of the
company. It is a fact that is considered by
employees from the first employment itself.
This mainly influence employees to retain in
a certain organization though there were
some other unhappy situations, and also to
leave the current employee once they get an
opportunity in more reputed company.
Work culture and work environment
is the other factor that was significant in the
Sri Lankan context, but was not emphasized
enough in the past literature. This was not
discussed under the characteristics of
Generation ‘Y’ers either. Yet, many people
were affected by this to leave organizations.
In certain cases, though every other
expectation was met, employees had decided
to leave organizations as they were not
happy with the working environment or
Even though the work-life balance
was explained as a major value of
Generation ‘Y’ers by Zemke e al. (2000),
working hours were a factor of concern due
to family obligations for females only. None
of the males complained about working
hours emphasizing on the need to contribute
to families. The researcher assumes that now
the male employees leisure also is combined
with the organizations because employers
arrange events, provide facilities like gym
and sports. Evidencing this factor, there was
an employee in the sample who has been
looking for an organization with these
facilities where he can enjoy his life. But it
seems that the female employees get little
opportunity to engage in those events when
compared to males, due to family
commitments. On the other hand there was a
female in the sample who said that she has
lost time at home due to the events
organized by the employer, even during
weekends (employee #9).
Taylor and Zimmer (1992) came up
with the fact of downsizing as a reason for
voluntary turnover. In this study, that factor
did not pop up as it is, but it is covered under
job security and involuntary turnover. Under
job security, the stable nature of the
organization had affected employees to
retain, which is the opposite of the fact
mentioned by them. Under involuntary
turnover in this study, there were two cases
where employees had changed their
organization of employment due to
management requests (management requests
as a result of downsizing), and due to
company close downs (extreme status of the
process of downsizing). However it should
be stated that there were no cases as
mentioned by Taylor and Zimmer (1992)
where employees leave organizations as
their peers were influenced by downsizing.
Michell et al. (2005) and Abelson
(1993) stated that employees are influenced
to job hop at times where co-workers are
unfairly treated. Yet, this also is not a reason
that any of the employees in the sample
came up with. Thus it is questionable if the
peer pressure is not a reason for Sri Lankan
employees to leave an organization though
Though D’Amato and Herzfeldt
(2008) said that Generation ‘Y’ers are skill
hungry, the lack of training and need for
challenging work were named as reasons for
leaving an organization by very few
employees in the sample. This makes it hard
to recognize training opportunity and
learning culture as a major factor that result
employees to job hop, as Hartman and Yrle
(1996) did.
There were employees who job hop
with a thinking that “it’s enough with this
company”. They sometimes say that they job
hop for a change. As Khatri et al. (1999)
said, there are employees who job hop for no
reason, even for fun. The reason employees
in this nature come up with is ‘need for
change’. However, it should be noted that, as
many HR managers in the sample claimed,
employees tend to think this way after a long
stay with one organization. Yet, when
considered the sample of this study, there
was a minority of employees who job hop
with no reason and think that employees
should change organization of employment
after some time. The ‘some time’ the
employees mean and the ‘long stay’
employers mean differ. Yet, the time periods
all of them mentioned were more than the
average number of years employees retain in
one organization, which is three years. In the
researcher’s point of view, this nature of
employment should not be considered as
something that is strictly related to
Generation ‘Y’ers because even in 1974,
Ghiselli (1974) said that some workers have
the natural impulse to move from one job to
another. Thus the findings about hobo
syndrome can be justified, which explains
that the employees may change their
organization of employment even when they
are satisfied with the employer. It is also
important to note that there were two
employees out of the sample of 25, who
spoke against this behaviour. That was
basically because they find going to a new
job itself is stressful due to uncertainty and
ambiguity that requires numerous
adjustments, as explained by Mitchell et al.
Even though Abelson (1993) and
Leidner and Smith (2013) describes how
macro factors i.e globalization, fast growing
economies, changing demand for labour etc.
affect lifetime employment, the researcher
found that these macro factors have not
influenced individual employees in making
decisions about changing their organizations
of employment. Nevertheless, the fact of
changing demand may be represented by the
‘better offers’ employees talked of in this
study. Yet, the employees considered them
individually as an offer came to them as a
result of their good performance and high
level of experiences, but not as a changing
demand of an economy.
4.3 Reasons to join a new organization
As it is illustrated in Table 3, the
first factor considered by an employee to
join an organization is its compensation
package. If this is elaborated, this means
that, whatever the reason an employee leave
an organization, the first factor they would
look from another organization to join is the
compensation package.
The second factor that the
employees consider when joining a new
organization is the reputation of the
company. This shows that, the reputation of
the company helps HR managers to identify
the competitive factors for them.
Job security is the third factor that
makes employees join another organization..
It was said previously that job security is a
reason for employees to leave the employer,
despite how good the employer is, when
there are opportunities in more secured
organizations. As an evidence, job security
has become the third important factor that
employees think of when joining another
‘Working environment and
organizational culture’ is another important
factor that employees consider, when joining
an organization. Employees came up with
this reason mostly due to unpleasant
experiences that they have had in their
The factors explained above are the
major factors that the researcher came
across. Taking all into consideration the
Table 4 provides an overall idea about the
reasons for job hopping.
Table 3: Reasons to join a new organization
# of first
# of second
# of third
Total # of
Source: Researchers own construction based on interview data
Table 4: Reasons for job hopping
Reasons to leave or retain in an
Reasons to join an organization
Pay package
Pay package
Career growth
Reputation of the organization
Management issues
Job security
Job security
Working environment and culture
Career growth
Reputation of the organization
Industry/ Profession
Working environment and culture
Working hours
Exposure/ Experience
Industry/ Profession
Training and Learning opportunities
Source: Researchers own construction based on interview data
4.4 Nature of job hopping in Sri Lanka
Job Hopping and Gender
In the past literature, there were
many contradicting views about job hopping
and gender. While some people find males
job hop more than the females or vice versa,
Miller and Wheeler (1992) and Wai and
Robinson (1998) found no relationship
between gender and job hopping.
However, in this study the
researcher came up with a statistical finding
and also an observational finding. According
to the statistical analysis, female employees
job hop than males (Table 1).
Yet, many females who now feel
satisfied with the employer do not have an
intention to quit again. However, when the
majority of males are not satisfied with their
employment, they intend to quit further.
With that background, what the researcher
found is that by nature, females in general
tend to stop job hopping when they find an
employer who meet their expectations.
As it is shown in the Table 1, since
the female employees in the sample who
said that they have no intention to quit, had
not worked with their current employer so
long, so that their average number of years
in one organization are low. In case of male
employees they have spent a similar number
of years in one organization and have the
intention to quit further. This can be
considered by the HR managers when
recruiting to the different nature of the
Job hopping and education level
Korpi and Mertens (2003) said that
there are clear differences in inter-firm
mobility according to education level. A
difference of job hopping behaviour due to
education level also could have been
observed by the researcher as well.
This relationship between job
hopping and level of education is linked to
the level of expectations of the employees.
As it was supported by HR manager #4,
there is a vast difference between the
expectations of an employee with advance
level qualification and an employee with a
degree. As a result of this high level of
expectations of degree holders, they tend to
look for better job opportunities with better
salaries and other benefits. But the advance
level qualified employees hesitate initially to
job hop as their competition is higher
compared to degree holders. Thus they tend
to retain at an organization they find
comfortable with. As HR manager #1 said
when employers obtain a masters degree,
they try to move to another organization as
the employer fail to meet their increased
level of expectations.
Thus it can be concluded that the
higher the level of education, the higher the
level of job hopping and this gives
implications for HR managers regarding
training and learning opportunities.
Job hopping among industries
The researcher also observed that
except for employees who have gained
specialised skills in certain industries, all the
other employees job hop among different
industries in their career. But the nature of
their jobs in all organizations was very
similar. For example many of the individuals
who had specialized in various areas of IT,
have worked in education, hospitality,
insurance, telecommunication industries and
also in the IT industry itself such as software
development companies. On the other hand
the employees who have specific skill areas
that can be made use of only in one industry,
has hopped only within that industry. The
best example for this is the marine and
shipping industry.
When employees talked about the
marketability of themselves, this industry
specific knowledge factor came into
discussion because they have less
opportunities to apply.
This finding is supported by Korpi
and Mertens (2003), who say that employees
with industry specific skills hop among
firms in the same industry. This gives an
implication to the nature of training to be
given to retain employees.
Job Hopping and level of acceptance of
The researcher had a separate
question to check if they accept the risk of
not getting a job within a reasonable time
period after leaving an organization or leave
the organization only when they find another
job. The conclusion the researcher came up
with is that, in general, employees in Sri
Lanka do not accept the risk, so that they
normally leave an organization after they
find another organization. This implies the
opportunity HR managers have to retain an
employee if they have a good sense of
employee behaviour.
Job hopping with lower designation
The main reasons for job hopping
with lower designation was, moving to
reputed organizations with taller hierarchies.
The employees who were in an upper
position sometimes moved to a lower
position with an intention to climb up in a
more sophisticated career path.
Employee perception about job hopping
The majority of the employees in the
sample believed positively about job
hopping. As they claimed job hopping can
be a good answer to avoid the monotonous
nature of jobs, to avoid dissatisfaction that
they feel after some time in one place, and to
meet changing expectations of people.
Though it is a minority, there were
employees who believed that employees
should stop job hopping at the moment that
they feel their expectations are met. Yet this
becomes invalid according to the view of the
majority who say that the expectations of
people keep changing. The employees were
aware of the consequences of job hopping,
so that they believed that one employee
should stay in one organization for at least
three years. Yet there were employees who
had left organizations after one day of
employment too. Their perception is that
noone should suffer because of their
employment as that would affect every other
facet of life.
However, it was mainly females
who talked about these consequences and
negative points of job hopping, while the
majority of males tried to see the positive
nature of job hopping.
Employer perception about job hopping
Today’s HR managers do
not consider job hopping as much of a
challenge due to favourable labour supply
for them, so that do not take specific actions
to retain them. Instead, the employers take
advantage of job hopping. The reasons they
see as the reasons for job hopping are, pay,
working environment, better opportunities,
migration and personal matters. They also
have specifically identified that the
Generation ‘Y’ers job hop than the other
employees in the past. This is backed up by
the characteristic of generation ‘Y’ers which
say that they are loyal to their professions
but not to the organizations. Most of the
employees do not take special actions to
mitigate job hopping. The main consequence
of job hopping as they see is the cost of
The HR managers admit job
hopping as a general behaviour of
employment and do not see it as an unfair
practice by the employees. However, HR
managers now justify job hopping provided
that they job hop for reasonable matters as
they see benefits of job hopping to
employees’ careers.
5. Conclusion
According to the findings of this
study, the average number of years an
employee would retain in an organization is
3 years. The first five reasons that influence
employees to job hop respectively are, pay
package, career growth, working
environment and culture, reputation of the
organization and job security. It was female
employees who were influenced to job hop
due to reasons such as personal matters,
working hours and overwork. Social
influence and peer pressure did not appear as
a reason to job hop in Sri Lanka, for
knowledge workers. Apart from that,
training and learning opportunities were also
not a major requirement of Sri Lankan
employees that result job hopping. The
macro factors such as globalization and
changing demand for labour that were
discussed in the literature review were not
notified by neither the HR managers nor
employees as reasons for employees to job
hop, and job hopping were mainly
influenced of individualistic matters.
In the general, male employees job
hop continuously in their career while
female employees initially job hop than the
male employees to find the organization they
fit in, and stop job hopping thereafter. With
regard to the level of education of
employees, the more the employees are
educated, the more they job hop. Yet, the
level of job hopping of the employees who
have gained specialised skills is lesser.
Unlike it was generalised in the past
literature, as the Generation “Y” employees
are less considered about job security,
employees in Sri Lanka do consider job
security as a major fact and tend to avoid
uncertainties, avoiding risks.
In the HR managers’ point of view,
the main reasons that result in job hopping
are, pay, working environment, better
opportunities, migration, and personal
matters. Even though none of the HR
managers saw job hopping as a challenge,
they see the cost of replacement as a major
consequence of job hopping. Knowledge
spillover, leak of trade secrets were not
considerable consequence for HR managers
as it was expected. However, HR managers
do not see job hopping as a threat; instead
they looked at job hopping in an optimistic
manner. The common perception was that,
job hopping is justifiable given that
employees job hop due to reasonable matters
and job hopping does speed up employees’
career growth.
6. Practical Implications
HR managers can consider the
frequency of job hopping as a period that
they can find out what employees to be
retained in the organization. Identification of
employee expectations would also help to
visualize employees future potential if they
retain with the organization.
On the other hand, HR managers
can consider job hopping as an opportunity
to get rid of employees who really do not
add value to the organizations. With the
pertaining labour laws and customs in Sri
Lanka, having to manage individuals that do
not fit with the organization is a huge
pressure for HR managers as there is always
room for mistakes in recruitment. Allowing
such employees to job hop makes room in
the organization for new blood.
Providing the employees with
industry-specific training would help
employers who want to retain the
As it is found in this study, many Sri
Lankan employees make arrangement for a
new organization before they leave the
organization. Thus, if HR managers are alert
about employees’ behaviours, they can get
to know about the people who are to quit.
This helps employers to act accordingly
depending on the importance of the person
to the organization.
7. Limitations of the study
The sample size for this study is
relatively small and this may hinder the
ability to generalize the findings of the
study. When the composition of the sample
of 30 individuals is considered, 25 were
employees and 5 were employers. Therefore
the representativeness of the employers/HR
managers' views about job hopping is
A considerable number of
employees were interviewed over the phone
especially in cases where the researcher did
not have a close relationship with those
interviewees. The researcher found it
difficult to keep the conversation long
enough when the interviewee was in their
office environment at such times.
8. Implications for future research
This research was focused only on
knowledge workers. Future research can be
extended towards operational level
This research was a cross sectional
analysis that looked at the matter of job
hopping from a helicopter view. There are
certain industries that face high threat of the
sustainability due to the job hopping
behaviour of employees (e.g.: industries
with trade secrets). Future research also can
be done in depth to identify the real reasons
for job hopping in such industries.
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... Job seekers with prior work experience believed that they were able to negotiate and bargain for a higher wage during the interview. Besides, putting emphasis on salary and benefits is believed help to retain and prevent employees from leaving the organization (Krishnan, 2012); while Dharmawansha and Thennakoon (2014) asserted that pay or compensation has become the most significant aspect for employees when deciding whether to stay with their current employment. It was discovered that the high pay provided is helpful and beneficial in attracting the employees to work longer in the company and the benefits can be said to act as a retention method used by the employer to reduce the turnover rate in their company. ...
... A study by Kirchmayer and Fratričová (2018) on Gen Z motivation at the workplace found 33.6% believed that achievement is an essential value to them; they feel good when they are able to accomplish and achieve any sort of work related-goal in the organization. Job satisfaction and achievement motivation had statistically significant connections (Metz, 2018); thus, employees who are skill hungry demanded challenging work to be given to them for their own job satisfaction (Dharmawansha & Thennakoon, 2014). This is due to mostly young employees tend to have the urge to challenge themselves to complete the challenging tasks because of the enthusiasm, passion, and spirit they have within themselves. ...
... Besides, Hoang (2021) argues that one of the benefits and motivations for job hopping activities is that it allows the individual to promote their salary. A study conducted by Dharmawansha and Thennakoon (2014) also highlighted that salary is among the important influences that can impact the decision of the employees to do job hopping. Irrefutably, employees who decided to find another job are motivated and focused primarily on the salary offered. ...
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Recruiting and retaining top talents are crucial for firm competitive advantage. However, job hopping behaviour has become a significant problem for HR practitioners. In Malaysia, job hopping trend among Generation Z has led to a high turnover rate. It causes damages as firms must endure a significant loss in both financial and non-financial costs. This phenomenon is contributed by several factors that spur them to leave their current employment for other job opportunities. This study has twofold objectives namely: to investigate the relationship between motivational factors and job-hopping intention among Gen Z, and to determine which motivational factors that have significant influence on job hopping intention among Gen Z. This research applied a quantitative method via survey. The items of the questionnaire were adopted from past studies that employed similar instruments that links the job-hopping intentions among Gen Z. Validity and reliability tests had been conducted to test the variables. Data was gathered from 369 respondents who are currently enrolled in public and private universities in Malaysia. Inferential analysis was performed to examine the relationship and influence between motivational factors and job-hopping intention among Gen Z. This study found that both intrinsic and extrinsic factors have significant relationships with job hopping intention among Gen Z. Findings reveal that only four factors have significant impacts on job hopping intention among Gen Z; and achievement factor was found to be the most influential factor in predicting job hopping intention among Gen Z. This study provides insight to government, researchers and organization on the issue related to human resource problem and the possible key factors to motivate and retain them from leaving their current employment. This study enables the organization to find suitable solutions to retain the Gen Z professionals that possess excellent skills and experience for a future growth of the company. Keywords: Job Hopping, Generation Z, Salary and Benefits, Interpersonal Relationships, Working Conditions, Recognition, Career Advancement, Achievement.
... Another study on job hopping that was conducted by Dharmawansha and Thennakoon (2014) revealed that pay or salary become the most priority for the employees to decide either to retain or leave their employer. It was found that the high salary offered is helpful to attract the employees to work longer in the company and the benefits can be said to act as a retention method used by the employer to reduce job hopping activities in their company (Dharmawansha & Thennakoon, 2014). ...
... Another study on job hopping that was conducted by Dharmawansha and Thennakoon (2014) revealed that pay or salary become the most priority for the employees to decide either to retain or leave their employer. It was found that the high salary offered is helpful to attract the employees to work longer in the company and the benefits can be said to act as a retention method used by the employer to reduce job hopping activities in their company (Dharmawansha & Thennakoon, 2014). Moreover, these findings can also be supported from a study made by Iqbal et al. (2017) in which the researchers stated that salary and benefits have a strong impact towards employees' job satisfaction and retention in a workplace. ...
... Furthermore, Dharmawansha and Thennakoon (2014) stated that there are employees who are skill hungry in which they demand challenging work to be given to them for their own job satisfaction. Mostly, young employees tend to have the urge to challenge themselves to complete the challenging tasks because of the enthusiasm and spirit they have within themselves. ...
Conference Paper
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Job hopping behaviour especially among the younger workforce has become a major challenge for Human Resource practitioners to attract and retain top talent workers in the company. Undeniably, the trend of job hopping had led to the problem of a high turnover rate in Malaysia. Job hopping phenomenon has caused damages to the organization as they need to bear a great loss in both financial and non-financial costs. The problem of job hopping occurs because of several factors that spur employee’s motivation to leave their current employment for other job opportunities. This study intends to investigate the relationship between intrinsic and extrinsic motivational factors with job hopping intention among Generation Z. The data was collected from 369 respondents that are currently studying at public and private Higher Educational Institutions (HEI) in the Klang Valley area. The respondents were chosen through convenience sampling methods. Pearson Correlation analysis and Multiple Regression were performed to investigate the relationship and impact between motivational factors and job-hopping intention among Generation Z. Findings of the study revealed that both intrinsic and extrinsic factors namely salary and benefits, interpersonal relationships, working conditions, recognition, career advancement and achievement have relationships to job hopping intention among Generation Z. Findings also indicated that there are only four (4) out of six (6) factors that have significant impact on job hopping intention among Generation Z namely the salary and benefits, working conditions, recognition and achievement. Moreover, the outcome from the regression analysis showed that achievement is the most influential factor in predicting job hopping intention among Generation Z in this study.
... According to Pranaya (2014) job hopping is defined as a pattern of switching companies for every year with their own willingness instead of the result from a layoff or company closure. Ghiselli (1974) identified that employees had possess natural internal impulse to move from one job to another without apparent or rational motive, regardless of having better alternative job offers or not (Dharmawansha & Thennakoon 2016). The author further explained that this concept as hobo syndrome and state it as "…the periodic itch to move from a job in one place to some other job in some other place" (p.81). ...
... Besides that, Branham (2005) in his book , " The Seven Hidden Reasons Employees Leave" has delineated the following reasons of job hopping;1) the job or work place not living up to expectations, 2) mismatch between job and person, 3) too little coaching or feedback, 4) too few growth and advancement opportunities, 5) feeling not valued and unrecognized including pay, 6) stress from overwork and work life imbalance, 7) loss of trust and confidence in senior leaders. Furthermore, the other previous researchers also have indicated several reasons for the employees to job hop and due to many of them, all the factors have been classified into three groups which are personal, social and organizational (Dharmawansha & Thennakoon 2016). ...
... Moreover, the past researches stated several reasons for employees to job hop for work and because many of them, all factors were categorized into three groups that are private, social, and organizational (Dharmawansha & Thennakoon, 2014). The authors found that personal factors such as emotional stress, need for better pay, and need for attachment might lead staff to job hop. ...
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Job hopping behavior may have an adverse effect on both employers and employees. For the perspective of employee, there are many factors might influence an employee's decision to job hop including salary dissatisfaction or a better offer elsewhere. The issue of job hopping has been a serious concern for many organizations, and the coffee shops industry is no exception. Therefore, the goal of this research is to discover potential factors influencing to job hopping behavior among coffee shops employees, as well as the relationship of identified factors with job hopping. Job satisfaction, financial and perceived organizational support were the three factors investigated in this research. A total of 231 questionnaires were distributed to employees who are currently working in the coffee shops in Klang Valley area and 215 usable responses returned for a response rate of 93.1 percent. The collected data was analyzed by using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) latest version. Results of the job satisfaction (mean= 3.5636), financial (m=3.5622) and perceived organization support (mean=3.5601) shows score lean towards agreement level. Additionally, findings showed that the correlation of all the variables were weak correlated. A multiple regression also was run to predict job hopping behaviour with the three independent variables. Results found that only 6.9% of variance in coffee shops’ employees was explained by job satisfaction, financial and perceived organization support (R² = .069). Even though the findings of this research found that these three variables did not have a direct impact on coffee shop employees' decision to job hop, the findings may provide some guidance and alert coffee shop owners or managers to the importance of these three variables in the coffee shops industry in order to minimize job hopping and will be discussed further in this paper.
... On the other hand, employees who still stay in the company will experience demoralization. Demoralization is caused by an increase in the workload of employees who are still surviving to replace the work of employees who leave the job, which can lead to a decrease in company productivity (Memon et al., 2014) The dimensions of job hopping according to (Dharmawansha & Thennakoon, 2014) as follows: ...
Mata pelajaran matematika selalu dianggap sebagai salah satu mata pelajaranyang tersulit. Untuk mengatasi kesulitan belajar matematika ini, maka siswa-siswaumur sekolah haruslah dapat diberikan suatu pendampingan dan pendekatanbelajar matematika yang bervariasi. Komunitas Anak Makanan Babi ini,merupakan kumpulan ana-anak umur sekolah yang kesehariannya harus membagiwaktu untuk sekolah, setelah itu mencari �makanan babi�, dan waktu untukbelajar di rumah. Permasalahan lain yang ada bahwa keadaan ekonomi orang tuayang menyebabkan anak-anak ini tidak bisa kesempatan untuk les privat. Olehkarena itu pendampingan untuk belajar matematika ini, dalam pendampingandiberikan juga belajar matematika dengan alat peraga operasi hitung bilanganbulat. Sehingga dapat meningkatkann minat belajar matematika.
Executives stay with an organization for only 3.3 years, on average. But does switching employers offer a fast-track to the top jobs? Research suggests the answer is no. In fact, that's one of four career fallacies identified in a study examining how managers get ahead. Fallacy 7: Job hoppers prosper. An analysis of the career histories of 1,001 CEOs and 14,000 non-CEOs in top corporations shows that the more years executives stay with the company, the faster they make it to the top. Lesson: Build a resume that demonstrates a balance between external and internal moves. Fallacy 2: A move should be a move up. Among the executives studied, about 40% of job changes were promotions, 40% were lateral, and 20% were demotions. Lesson: While a downward move will detract from your CV, a lateral move can often lead to a promotion or enhance your CV when the new company conveys brand value. Fallacy 3: Big fish swim in big ponds. When making a move, 64% of executives trade down to smaller, less-recognized firms. They gain better titles or positions, cashing in on the brand value of their former employer. Lesson: Join top companies as early in your career as you can, and transfer to a lesser company only if the job is very attractive. Fallacy 4: Career and industry switchers are penalized. It's not always a bad move to change industries, or even careers, as is often assumed. Firms hire employees from different businesses for many reasons: For example, another industry might simply offer superior human capital. Lesson: Look for industries where your skills represent a genuine asset. Every career is unique; what's important is to look at each move with a critical eye.
The competition to retain key employees is intense. Top-level executives and HR departments spend large amounts of time, effort, and money trying to figure out how to keep their people from leaving. This article describes some new research and its implications for managing turnover and retention. These ideas challenge the conventional wisdom that dissatisfied people leave and money makes them stay. People often leave for reasons unrelated to their jobs. In many cases, unexpected events or shocks are the cause. Employees also often stay because of attachments and their sense of fit, both on the job and in their community. We discuss these ideas and make recommendations for integrating them into a comprehensive retention plan.
This study examines the extent to which perceived organizational support, employee exhaustion, job satisfaction, and affective commitment are related to the turnover intention and job hopping behaviour of music teachers. Results from a primary survey of 93 music teachers from private music schools around the Klang Valley in Malaysia showed that they were less likely to leave when they perceive their music schools supported them, and when they are job satisfied, and not emotionally exhausted from the pressures of teaching. Unlike their job hopping behaviour, the relationships between each of the three antecedents and the turnover intention of music teachers were mediated by their affective commitment to music schools. The music teachers were also not likely to job hop when they have a low perception of organizational support. Instead, they would job hop if they experience emotional exhaustion and are not job satisfied. This article also discusses some practical implications for owners and principals of music schools. It also reports the research limitations and provides suggestions for future research.
Purpose ‐ This paper aims to explain that job-hopping has become more common in recent years, partly because of globalization, greater short-termism, shortened product life-cycles and growing and vanishing markets.Design/methodology/approach ‐ The paper provides the results of a survey of four chief executives from the metalworking industry, and one from a four-star hotel within a management center, to back up claims that training is helping to discourage employees from job-hopping in rural south Germany.Findings ‐ The paper claims that job-hopping may be more of a problem in urban than in rural areas, among lower-paid employees and among people working in fast-growing economies.Practical implications ‐ The paper highlights some of the advantages firms can gain if their employees stay for longer than the average 3.3 years.Social implications ‐ The paper reveals that numerous German organizations strive to train a certain number of young people ‐ often more than required for the company ‐ and develop key skills within the employment market. This includes an agreement with unions to employ these trainees for a minimum of 12 months after the training period is completed.Originality/value ‐ The paper reveals that the cost of replacing an employee is, on average, between 100 percent and 125 percent of his or her annual salary, so retention is financially important.