At Tiger, our experience in service-led recruitment of senior business support staff is something we pride ourselves in. After almost two decades establishing ourselves as one of the best PA recruitment agencies in London, we felt it was a natural next step to launch our retained executive search division, Tiger Platinum Executive Search, in 2019.
20 years ago, most workers would leave school or university, find themselves a job and work their way up the ladder, staying within the same company for five, 10 or even 20 years. As such, the idea of ‘longevity’ on a CV stuck, as employers looked for employees who could demonstrate their loyalty.
The idea of longevity is now a thing of the past, thanks to a millennial sensibility that’s seen the average jobseeker spend less than two years in each position. This is especially true of PA recruitment in London.
So, what does this mean for employers examining CVs in 2019?
Tiger’s 2019 Salary Review revealed that 62% of surveyed support staff had been in their role for less than two years, and half were planning on leaving within the next 12 months. Similarly, a survey by Payscale found that 13% of millennials believed workers should stay in a job for five years before moving on, compared to 41% of baby boomers.1 The same survey revealed 1 in 4 millennials believed workers should only be expected to stay in a job for a year or less before looking elsewhere.
This shift, led by the younger workforce and encouraged by the global recession in 2008, has seen the norm shift from a ‘job to life’ to workers who aren’t afraid to move on, search for new opportunities, a pay rise, better benefits, a sense of purpose or simply reaching the ceiling in their organisation.
What does this mean for hiring managers?
With all of this in mind, the approach to jumpy CVs must now shift. The definition for ‘hoppy’ has now changed – a candidate changing jobs every two years is the new standard, provided that they can validate their reasons for leaving. Therefore, the baseline for loyalty must change – instead of judging on longevity, hiring managers need to examine the scope of work completed by the candidate in their role and the impact they were able to have on the business. Instead of wondering ‘when will this candidate leave?’, it is up to the hiring manager to harness their ambition and highlight what the business can do to encourage their growth and career progression. At the end of the day, which would you rather – a high-performing candidate that excels over 18 months before moving on, or a candidate that does what they’re meant to and nothing more for five years?
The benefits of job-hopping
There are many reasons that a candidate may change jobs more regularly than before, some of which will be outside their control. Post-2008, most support staff roles in the banking and financial services industries, for example, are based on two-year or 20-month contracts.
A candidate with numerous stints in a range of workplaces has usually experienced different working styles, personalities and processes, meaning they’ll be able to adapt to new procedures easily. Their depth of knowledge and skillset also tends to be wider, as they have encountered a variety of programmes and techniques.
Often, candidates who do move jobs within two years are doing so for progression, or for an opportunity for professional development. This demonstrates a drive for self-improvement and a desire to keep learning, which only bodes well for a business – an employee willing to upskill and develop their knowledge will bring this back into the business.
What to look for instead
When hiring a personal assistant or other support staff, it’s important to focus on the experiences they’ve had, rather than how long they’ve had them. An EA that’s worked in a fast-paced private equity firm may have experienced a much steeper learning curve and been exposed to much more than, say, a PA who has stayed in the same role for 18 months. Therefore, when looking at CVs, look for the skillset that you know your role needs. Should it be appointment-heavy, look for PAs and EAs who have dealt with multiple or ever-changing diaries. If the role requires knowledge of an office move, look for previous experience in this area.
It’s also worth discussing with your recruiter, or the candidate themselves, the reasons for a candidate’s jumpy CV. Understanding their reason for leaving can go a long way in understanding their career goals and the value they could bring to your business.
Looking to hire in 2019? Tiger works with candidates from a range of industries and backgrounds. Get in touch to see how we can help.