job hop

Should HR Professionals Job Hop?

This year we learned that millennials aren’t the only ones job hopping, which implies that employees are seeing career benefits to moving around. But what about HR professionals? Considering that the role of an HR practitioner is to attract, engage, and retain employees, it may seem counterintuitive that job hopping can in fact be advantageous for HR professionals themselves.

According to data from over 1,000 companies, HR professionals stay with a company for just over two and a half years on average. To those familiar with the landscape of HR teams at growing companies—many of which are tasked with a surplus of responsibilities—it may not come as a surprise that HR professionals themselves are eager to move up the ladder quickly.

If you’ve been at your job for more than three years, is it time to job hop?



Job level and compensation are important conversations for HR professionals to have with leadership, and if the company’s goals don’t align with desired career advancement, changing companies may be a viable option. Here are three signs it might be time to make a move:

1. HR Does Not Scale with Company Growth

Why might someone in a role designed to sustain employee engagement want to move on from the culture they built? Realistically, even at high growth companies, HR tends to be one of the slowest departments to scale with growth. This means that it can be much harder to move up in rank if your team’s growth is stagnating. If you notice that your company is growing, your responsibilities are scaling, and leadership shows no sign of building out the HR department, it might be time to consider a move to pursue other opportunities.

2. Salary Does Not Reflect Qualifications

On average, we found that HR professionals had received an average of two salary increases in their current roles. This suggests that most companies operate on an annual raise structure. However, according to our data, the highest recorded salary is associated with senior HR practitioners who have a tenure of less than one year with their current company, as shown in the chart below.

A graph depicting Senior Level HR Salaries by Tenure

From a pure salary prospective, loyalty does not always pay off. The trend suggests that HR professionals entering a new company have much more negotiating power than those looking to move up internally. In the modern landscape, companies seem to be understanding the value of HR leadership and are more willing to pay commensurate salaries. As HR leadership roles continue to increase in value over time, it might be wise to explore new opportunities.

3. New Industry Opportunity

Robust HR teams were once a staple of corporate culture, but not any more. Startups and mid-sized companies are starting to recognize the importance of HR leadership, which is giving HR a lot of exciting opportunities in new industries. As stakeholders in high-growth industries seek out stellar HR leadership, there is tremendous opportunity to introduce your expertise into a new space that desperately needs it.

Though HR seeks to build an environment that engages employees, data suggests that there may be benefits linked to regular job movement in the HR industry. As many companies realize that HR should have a crucial seat at the table, HR professionals should pay close attention to internal and external opportunities for growth.

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