The case for job/career jumpers

team meeting

COVID-19 has led to a worldwide discussion and evaluation of financial systems and economic sustainability. Human capital has played a critical role in ensuring the well-being of others during the crisis. However, the term “career jumpers,” used by some employers and HR professionals to describe individuals with multiple short-tenured and simultaneous careers, is a limiting assumption. Organizations that don’t recognize the potential value of “career jumpers” risk losing opportunities to harness these unique individuals’ untapped resources and competencies.

The term “career jumpers” originates from employers and HR professionals’ who hold assumptions of individuals with multiple short-tenured and/or simultaneous careers failing to possess the staying power.

Throughout my professional career, which includes experience as an international civil servant, entrepreneur, public speaker, and consultant, I have had the opportunity to discover different cultures and meet dynamic individuals, including leaders, innovators, and human resource professionals. However, some employers and HR professionals use the term “career jumpers” to describe individuals who have had multiple short-tenured and simultaneous careers and may assume that these individuals lack staying power.

Unfortunately, this bias may cause untrained hiring managers/HR professionals to overlook the potential contribution of a “career jumper” since they fail to recognize the immediate value of such individuals, which may not be evident within the typical 3 to 5-year rate of investment (ROI) per hire.

As a result, many organizations miss the opportunity to fully utilize these unique individuals’ untapped resources and associated competencies, even though “job jumpers” are the dynamic human capital that can contribute to developing institutional capacity through their professional and life experiences.

Moreover, regardless of the reasons for changing jobs, individuals with cross-sectoral exposure, such as “job jumpers,” can bring valuable adaptability and flexibility to their roles, particularly in times of crisis, and can make meaningful contributions to specific subject matter and functional teams.

Whatever the reason(s) for a job jumper, they have accumulated cross-sectoral exposure in different contexts and working situations is marked by their greater adaptability and flexibility in periods of crisis across specific subject matter and functional teams.

Moreover, “job jumpers” possess cross-sectoral exposure in different contexts and working situations, enhancing their adaptability and flexibility across specific subject matter and functional teams during crises. Their intrinsic curiosity and drive, enhanced by multiple careers, allow them to skillfully deal with new challenges in new roles where they use their professional competencies, multidimensional talents, and expertise across different sectors.

Furthermore, they can identify and create new opportunities, see patterns, and bring new insights, making them valuable as consultants, advisors, project managers, innovators, entrepreneurs, subject matter experts, and freelancers. For example, Randy Komisar and Kabir Sehgal are individuals with multidimensional talents. Randy, who earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School, worked with Steve Jobs to acquire Pixar and eventually assumed the CEO role of several companies and venture capitalists. Kabir, who has authored the article “Why You Should Have (at least) Two Careers,” has four vocations: corporate strategist at a Fortune 500 company, U.S. Navy Reserve officer, author of several books, and record producer.

Leaders and H.R. professionals must recognize the value of “job/career jumpers” and develop initiatives beyond short-sighted ROI per hire to promote innovation among their workforce. They must seize every opportunity to create an adaptable workforce by broadening their insights and just-in-time detection of dynamic and talented individuals.

For instance, during market research conducted with one of my associates, we interviewed several executives and business owners with the primary objective of helping them align their pain points with talent identification initiatives, acquisition, and management processes to our human capital success predictor solution. During a job interview a few years ago, one of the executives regretted not identifying my multidimensional skills. This missed opportunity highlights the need for leaders and H.R. professionals to upskill their human capital abilities to purposefully engage and utilize the skills of “job/career jumpers” within their organization.

To recognize and nurture the multidimensional talents of “job/career jumpers,” leaders and HR professionals must upskill their human capital abilities in ways that enable them to purposefully engage and utilize the skills of these unique individuals within their organization.

As the workforce continues to evolve in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it is becoming increasingly important for organizations to have a diverse and adaptable workforce with multi-dimensional talents. The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report has emphasized the importance of this trend. Therefore, leaders and HR professionals must recognize and nurture the potential of “job/career jumpers” by upskilling their abilities to effectively engage and utilize the skills of these unique individuals within their organizations. By doing so, organizations can stay competitive and identify new opportunities for value creation in the rapidly changing business landscape.

Makes the invisible visible.