The new normal: 4 job changes by the time you’re 32

job hopping woman

Just about everyone is doing it, at least everyone under 32.

That “it” is job hopping. A new study by networking site LinkedIn found that young people really do change jobs a lot more than their parents did.

The new normal is for Millennials to jump jobs four times in their first decade out of college. That’s nearly double the bouncing around the generation before them did.

The so-called Gen Xers who graduated college from 1986 to 1990 averaged about two job changes in their first 10 years out of college, LinkedIn (LNKD, Tech30) found.

Today’s college grads don’t just change jobs, they often switch into entirely different industries.

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“A college degree used to slot you into a 40-year career. Now it’s just an entry-level point to your first job,” says Guy Berger, the LinkedIn economist who analyzed the career trajectories of 3 million college graduates.

The biggest job hoppers work in media, entertainment, government and non-profits. Millennials that stay in their position the longest typically work in industries where they make things like autos, manufacturing and oil.

There are a lot of theories about why this job shifting revolution is underway.

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Young people have always been more restless than their elders, but there’s a growing sense that employers see workers as more disposable too. Numerous CNNMoney readers are worried about job security.

“Employers really are churning through the workforce a little faster,” says Berger. “Companies are trying to focus on retaining top talent, not just recruiting top talent.”

Millennials want to move up the ranks quickly. One of the fastest ways to do that is to change jobs. A new role often comes with a more elevated title and a substantial pay raise (15% or more versus 1 to 3% by someone staying in their current role).

The Great Recession may have also played a role as college grads struggled to get any job, let alone the job they wanted, although Berger notes that jumping around has been on the rise since the 1990s.

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Whatever is causing it, the trend doesn’t appear to be slowing down. Young Millennials (those who graduated from 2006 to 2010) are on track to surpass four job changes by the time they hit age 32.

“The best advice I can give anyone is to think about acquiring skills and knowledge that can easily be transferred from one place to another,” says Berger.

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