How Often Do People Change Jobs? (And Why?)

Some people stay in the same job or field of work for their entire lives. 

While many people, however, try different types of work, such as food service, hospitality, retail or business, before finding a career that fits. 

Even then, for a variety of reasons, they may decide to change their jobs and do something different. 

In this article, I will enlighten you on how often people change careers and other necessary things you need to know.

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How Often Do People Change Jobs?

On an average, people change jobs every 2.73 years, or approximately every two years and nine months.

So while the average job tenure is 2.73 years, more than half of the professionals we polled left at least one job within a year.

Below is a statistical breakdown of how often average people change their jobs:

  • 42% changed jobs every one to two years.
  • 31% changed jobs every four years or more.
  • 23% changed jobs every three years.
  • 4% reported changing jobs more than once per year.
  • 62% of people have left a job in the first year

Why Do People Change Jobs? 

The most common reasons why people change their jobs is that they are finding better opportunities, they are leaving a toxic environment, but lack room for professional growth.

Below, you’ll find the exact breakdown of the top major reasons why people leave their jobs, based on the percentage of professionals who reported leaving a position for each reason at least once in their career:

  • 55% found a new, better job opportunity.
  • 43% indicated a toxic work environment.
  • 41% indicated a lack of opportunities for professional growth in their current job.
  • 36% resigned due to being underpaid or not receiving salary raises.
  • 32% left due to a boss.
  • 30% left a job due to being laid off.
  • 30% wanted to change careers.

Apart from the major reasons, there are also less-common reasons for leaving a job such as:

  • Being a family member of an active-duty service member and needing to relocate the family.
  • A company’s business needs shifting and the employee’s role changing without their desire to change.
  • Seeking a better commute.

Also, if you’re considering changing careers, it is proper that you research the career path and industry you’re considering so you know what you’re getting into, and then trust your gut and follow your instinct. 

Changing careers can bring you more room for upward growth, help you escape a shrinking or dying industry, and bring new excitement and passion to your work.

Some of the more common industries that people change into include software development and digital marketing.

Read Also: How Often Do People Change Jobs In Their Lifetime?

Reasons Why Younger Workers Change Jobs More Often?

As a former recruiter, my experience is that younger professionals do change jobs more often than older generations.

Older generations, like baby boomers, were told that job-hopping looks bad on a resume and that you should never leave a job within one year.

It’s becoming more acceptable to switch careers or take new jobs at a higher frequency, though.

Younger professionals are realizing that if they’re sure they want a career change or new job, there’s little sense in remaining in a position for a full year just to improve their resume.

Good Reasons To Make A Job Change

The advice that you should stay in every job for at least one year is outdated and harmful.

There are many reasons to start a job search or take a new job immediately.

Good reasons for joining a new company/job immediately include:

  • If your current job is taking a toll on your mental health then changing to a new job will be necessary.
  • The role changed and is different from what you wanted to do when you were hired.
  • You have been given a new job opportunity and you’ll look back and regret it if you don’t take the role.
  • You’ve been offered an opportunity that pays significantly more money, which will greatly improve your quality of life and financial situation.
  • You’ve decided to transition away from your current career to a new type of work.
  • You’re relocating and your current role cannot be performed remotely.
  • Your current employer is going through layoffs and you don’t want to take the risk of being laid off in the near future.

All these above are just some of the situations when you should change to a new position even if you’ve spent less than one year in your current role.

However, if you feel that your job is harming your physical or mental health, consider looking for a job while employed instead of quitting with no job lined up.

Continuing in your same job will give you a steady paycheck and more confidence in your job hunt. 

You will have less pressure and more time to look for the right new position.

Also, if you love your company but feel your role is no longer a fit, consider talking to your manager about whether this same company may have a different team that fits your goals better or an upgrade.

Difference Between Changing Jobs And Changing Careers?

People are usually comparing changing jobs and changing careers as the same thing. While in a real sense, it isn’t the same.

A job change is when you stay within the same type of work, but change who you work for. 

An example of this would be a lawyer who changes jobs to become a lawyer at a different law firm. 

A career change is when you take a job within a different type of work. 

For example, a lawyer who becomes a musician would be changing careers.

Nevertheless, any time you move from one work situation to another, whether it is within the same company, with a different company or in a completely different industry, it can be either a job change or a career change.


The answer to this question depends on your total years of experience and other factors.

So when applying for a new job, employers will look at your resume and job history as one big picture. They only see job-hopping as an issue if it seems to be a pattern.

In this case, the main thing here is to be strategic and limit how often you are changing jobs. but while you do pick and choose the scenarios when it makes sense to make quick job changes, and when it’s not worth it.

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