According to a new study of youth unemployment by economists Martin Gervais, Nir Jaimovich, Henry Siu, and Yaniv Yedid-Levi, jumping between jobs in your 20s, which strikes many people as wayward and noncommittal, improves the chance that you’ll find more satisfying—and higher paying—work in your 30s and 40s.
“People who switch jobs more frequently early in their careers tend to have higher wages and incomes in their prime-working years,” said Siu, a professor at the Vancouver School of Economics. “Job-hopping is actually correlated with higher incomes, because people have found better matches—their true calling.”
Adults who switch jobs multiple times are more likely to find a position in their prime-work years where they earn a higher wage and have a lower chance of quitting.
Young people are more likely to be unemployed. Siu’s paper tries to understand why. “You can quite clearly see the reason young people have relatively higher unemployment is not because they have a harder time finding jobs,” he said. “Actually, they find jobs with greater ease than somebody who is 45 or 55. But they are more likely to leave a job.”
In Siu’s words: “For the HR person considering a young worker, it’s not true to say, ‘If I hire them they are more likely to leave my firm.’ That likelihood hasn’t changed. But if that person does leave my firm, the next job is more likely to be totally different.” Young people aren’t quitting more. They’re experimenting more.