Job Hopscotch: The latest trend amongst techies

Date:   Wednesday , August 01, 2007

Until a decade or two ago, it was more the rule than exception that most people retired from the same organization that they joined as an employee or a trainee. In fact, getting a decently paid job itself was difficult in the first place, leave alone the chance of having multiple choice. Then, they were `loyal’ employees, every one of them, unfailingly getting ‘rewarded’ the routine annual hikes. Job switching was very rare even among the few enterprising ones who wanted to have an enviable time getting a `good’ offer.

All this was before India’s economic boom. As a result of the huge economic boom that began in the late 1980s and soon brought every economic activity within its ambit, a world of diverse job opportunities opened up for techies and ‘loyalty’ to the corporate organizations became a rare virtue. Today the techies are busy, playing ‘job hopscotch’.

According to a recent study conducted by Ma Foi Global Search Services in India, job-hopping is going up sharply. The report confirmed that in 2004, 12 to 13 percent of the previous year’s IIM batch shifted jobs within a year. This percentage has risen to 18-23 in the last two years.

There are also genuine reasons for a techie to switch the job. It might be medical emergencies, feeling unrecognized or undervalued at work, relocating subsequent to marriage, higher education, onsite opportunity, and higher salary and perks. However, a candidate who decides to leave a job should have a clear justification for the same.

However, in order to make a shift in their job, some of the candidates come up with lame excuses. "I have had experiences where candidates wants to make a better choice, hence, before joining the organization they come with excuses like their parents are not well and since they need to spend more time with them; they are not interested in taking up the job. This is unbelievable," says Kishore Deshpande, HR Head, Webex.

“I have heard some intelligent answers from candidates like, “I would like to go for higher studies; I have enrolled myself for an MBA from UK; and so on,” says Meera Mukotvallapile, Assistant HR Manager, Independent Technology Systems.

Raghavendra Suresh, HR Director, Sanovi Technologies, suggests “The techies should not leave a job due to ‘hygiene factors’ such as the distance, compensation, etc. rather than motivating factors. On the other hand, they have to be value driven and build on their competency; personality growth and promotion have to happen within the individuals themselves, based on their own competencies.”

Joydeep Chakrabarty, HR Head, Silver Software, suggests that the candidates should be honest during an interview. They should have a clear reason, if they subsequently want to leave the job.

Multiple switching is personally worthwhile, if a candidate has growth in his career from one level to another. However, according to most of the HR managers, a candidate should stick on to one organization at least for two to three years.

“Candidates should remember that the change of job should bring in significant career opportunity, just not a few more dollars by way of salary,” says Meera. Some also change their company when some of their friends there get opportunities to go abroad, leaving them behind.

When a candidate decides to change the job he should meet with his supervisor and have a one-on-one discussion about his career. If they are planning to give him some interesting work or promotion, then he should think once again before hopping out. He should think about whether the change would add more value to his career than that in the current job. It is very important to realize that learning is a continuous process and one should upgrade his or her skills to face the upcoming challenges that they face with the passage of time.

Job in a new company is like ‘mist on the mirror’, when the candidate has only a vague idea of that company. Prior to joining a company, if candidates look at all the pros and cons of the organization it would help them make a wise decision. This decision taken by the candidates would be questioned in most of the organizations during interviews. This is important because the potential employers are curious to know whether the candidates are dedicated, stable, and the shift they want to make is for genuine reasons.

Even the techies are sometimes confused of the reasons for switching job and whether to have a shift in career at this juncture or not. Ganga Sharma, Country Manager HR, Employee Relations, Diversity and Culture, HP defines their state of mind as “a person roller-skating on a highway.”

Hence, there is a need to inculcate work ethics inspired by excellence. Excellence does not mean being equal or better, it means being the best. This is possible through superior performance and unwavering passion for work; and when people combine intelligence and experience to achieve the best.

In the current era, when there is a sense of unquenchable thirst among the techies to reach the board level irrespective of their age and experience, they should realize that coupling job satisfaction with remuneration is not always right, as the two don’t go together on many instances.