SURVEY SAYS: Number of Jobs

PLANSPONSOR NewsDash readers share the number of jobs they’ve had since finishing their education, and some share why.

Last week, I asked NewsDash readers, “How many jobs have you had since finishing your education?”

More than seven in 10 (7.7%) of responding readers consider themselves to be Millennials, 26.9% said they are Gen Xers, 63.5% Baby Boomers and 1.9% members of the Silent Generation.

A small percentage (5.8%) of respondents reported they have had more than 10 jobs since finishing their education, while nearly one-quarter (24%) indicated they have had six to 10. Another 62.5% said they’ve had two to five jobs, and 7.7% have had only one.

In verbatim comments, readers shared why they’ve had as many jobs as they’ve had. Some moves have been by choice; others were forced. Reasons to stay included having a defined benefit (DB) plan, having a good manager and/or good coworkers and ability to change responsibilities or move up. Reasons to leave included bad managers, toxic environment, to advance or increase salary. Several pointed out they’ve had more job changes than employer changes. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “If work isn’t fun, you’re not playing on the right team.”

Thank you to all who participated in the survey!


8 changes. 2 by choice, 6 by layoff. HR wasn’t a super career for job stability!

I’m in my 3rd job since graduation. First job 1 year, 2nd job 14 years, 3rd job 15 years. I would have stayed in the 2nd job except my employer merged and changed my job responsibilities.

I’m 53 and I have had 3 real jobs since college. The shortest tenure was 6 years at my first job followed by 11 at my second job. I’ve been at my current job for 8 years and hope to stick it out until I retire in 12 more years.

While I’ve worked for just one employer over the past 40 years, I have had the opportunity to work in different departments within the company. I have had the opportunity to do about 6 different functions at the company.

Unfortunately, in my experience, changing jobs seems to be the only way to obtain significant increases in compensation.

I’ve only had two jobs. Took me a year to get into my desired profession and have been with my current employer over 25 years.

As I near retirement I wish I would have changed jobs more often when I was younger. I’ve had only 2. But, with young children and no ability to work remotely, that kept me where I was. At my current and final job, continuing to accrue a pension benefit has been a big incentive to stay.

Sometimes you have to try a job on for size before you find the right one. I’ve been at my current job 7 years – I found the right one!

Thank God I no longer need to worry about this as I am retiring in 3 weeks. Yay!

I had one HR job I was happy with for 20 years even though the company would be folding in 1-2 years. I was going to see it through to the end but was recruited away prior to that happening by an employee I had laid off and have now been with the second company over 28 years. I’ll be retiring at the end of 2020 with 30 years of service here.

I worked for two companies that I helped build up and then sold which allowed me to retire at 54.

Education is AA degree, 5 jobs, one which was self-employed. 5th job been with for 23 years and will hopefully retire from in 8 years, but who’s counting?

If work isn’t fun, you’re not playing on the right team.

I have generally liked my employers so luckily I haven’t had to change jobs very often. My last job change, was not by my choice, but allowed me to move back home and find a great employer that I hope to retire with. And more important than employers are your managers. If you have a great manager, you should be able to work for the company a long time.

I did change jobs a few times very early in my career for a variety of reasons. However, I have been with my current firm for 29 years and plan to retire here in 8 more years. It took a while, but I found my niche.

I have moved on from jobs to grow my career from retirement plan administrator at a retirement plan provider to HR generalist at a professional services company. I never could have grown into this career if I had stayed at any one of the previous four organizations. -job #5 started 1 month ago.

Industry consolidation triggered cost cutting with the greatest expense associated with employees

More forced changes than voluntary.

Haven’t had to do it in 35 years. Hoping for 2 more until I retire. Wouldn’t have stayed this long if I hadn’t had the opportunity to grow and develop and be respected for it along the way.

I went part-time for a while and tried another job on the side, but discovered I like what I do and where I am.

I am proud to say I have been with one company for 37 years. In fact, I furthered my education while I worked. Something that is unheard of today.

Most have been due to an opportunity to move up, but one was due to a reduction in force. Two also involved a relocation.

7 jobs in 35 years. I changed jobs frequently early in my career as I tried to find my niche. Over the past 20 years, I’ve had only 2 jobs.

More than 10 jobs, but with a total of 7 employers. Even Baby Boomers have moved around to get ahead!!

There’s a difference between changing jobs and changing companies. I’ve changed jobs within a company multiple times, but only changed companies rarely.

Wanderlust combined with accelerated boredom and a “grass is greener” mentality does not result in a stable resume (10 jobs since law school). It has bit me a few times, but I’m now in my dream job and the defined benefit retirement I’ll have will keep me in this one until I throw in the retirement towel.

I’m 68 yrs old and have been working since 1977. I’ve had 12 jobs. Sometimes I changed for money, others for advancement and still others because I grew bored or detested my boss.

I am on my 5th job, but 8th company.

I started with my current employer at age 24 and will retire from here in 5 years at age 65. In the 36 years I’ve been employed here, I’ve been laid off and rehired 3 times and was able to retain all my service credit each time I was rehired. I work for a great company and I feel fortunate to have spent my career here.

As I’ve gotten more experience, I have stayed at various jobs longer. Right now, 13 years–the longest I have been anywhere.

Given employers’ disdain for employees and worship of the bottom line, changing jobs is often the only way to move forward in a career. In one 17-year period, I worked for 5 different employers in 7 different locations, all without changing my job or clients, courtesy of the merger and acquisitions mania in the industry. At one employer, we went 7+ years without receiving a raise; raises were approved in some years but the divisional SVP refused to implement as it would adversely affect his bottom line and personal bonus.

My first job was for one year. I have been at my second job for 35 years. We are one of those great companies that still has a Pension plan. Makes it very hard to leave!!!!

I think the question should be – How many career changes have you had since college graduation? I’m on my second (currently in Financial Services / recordkeeping) after 29 years in HR

I’m on my 4th job in 38 years. I left the first one after 2.5 years to accept a scholarship to study abroad. I stayed with the 2nd job for 6.5 years, until the company moved out of state. I left the 3rd job after 3.5 years because it wasn’t worth staying. I’ve been in my current job for nearly 24 years and plan to retire after reaching 25 years! Woohoo! My next job is retirement!

I will stay at a job as long as I feel like a valued employee and I can make a difference. When that is gone, it is time to move on.

Working for current employer for 28 years

I was at my first job for 13 months, my second job for 13 years and at my current job for over 20 years. I plan on finishing my working career here. The key is to find a company that provides opportunity and challenges; appreciation for your efforts; great people to work with and a competitive pay/benefit package. Having great leadership in an organization also helps, since most of the time employees are still leaving organizations because of their managers – not because of pay or benefits or any other reason. There are good companies still out there, but I feel that there will always be a feeling that the grass is greener somewhere else. About 5% of current workforce is rehires – those that left and realized how great a place we really work at and wanted to come back.

Companies abandoned loyalty to their employees over short-term financial gain and bemoan this generation’s lack of loyalty. This generation has seen first-hand from their parents’ experience that they should pursue what’s best for them and their career.

I tend to work in 10 year cycles. I last about 10 years then I need a change of pace and new environment.

I’ve had 4 jobs in my career, but have been in the same one for the last 30 years.

Moved a lot, so lots of new jobs for that reason. Early on, I frequently had a second job after office hours. Spent time in the 80s and 90s working in bank trust departments (innumerable mergers and job losses during that time). But, I finally settled in with a law firm as an ERISA paralegal, and have spent the last 23 years of my career there.

Been here for 33 years but of course I’m one of those old timers.

Difficult – more so as you get older. Age discrimination is alive and well. Honesty and ethics are rare, but met and worked with some very bright people.

I have been at my current employer 12 years and have been very happy here. I was hoping this would be my last employer since I am less than 10 years from retirement. Well – – the company was recently acquired and our future is uncertain. I might have one more job change after all.

Seems the ‘young folks’ don’t understand the meaning of loyalty, but then again neither do some employers!

I’m a boomer, we tend to stick. I’ve only changed jobs due to relocating and the last change was a dial back 12 years ago to a position I really enjoy with a short 15 minutes commute!

This is a nuanced question: six to ten “jobs”, however in my financial services career two employers with three “job changes” within my current employer.

My first job was for 7 years; I have been at my second job for the last 28 years.

I had to leave my last job due to the toxic environment. Which, then in turn, caused me to change my career into a TPA. In the end, it was a great change. I feel that changing jobs a lot is not great, but if the change is needed, you must leap at the chance!

I have been with my current employer for 21 years. The only reason I had to look for another job because the business closed. If I am treated respectfully, i will be loyal and give my 100%

Employers are no longer “faithful” to employees, so there is no reason for employees to be. Seems like it’s everyone for themselves anymore. How sad.

There are many instances when you must change employers in order to advance.

I have worked in the same location for almost 25 years. The company has been sold multiple times and my functions have changed over the years with the new owners so I have not wanted to look for a new job until recently.

Not always my idea but overall changes have allowed me to have more exposure and experience and have been positive. Advise my daughters to always be thinking about the next step but also consider if you are on the right path for what you want to do. Starting out of college the concern was stable job for long term which looking back was not the right mindset for a lifetime of work.

I have all the luck of picking companies that would eventually be bought or acquire/thereby go through downsizing, or completely go out of business (two did that). Otherwise, I may not have changed so many times.

I’ve had 5 jobs since finishing my Undergraduate studies in 1987. The last two jobs I have were for 10 years and 15 years and counting. At this point of my career I’m not looking to reestablish or reinvent myself.

I am currently working for my third employer since graduating from college. Both of my job changes were directly related to caring for my family.

I would never have left my job of 27 years if my job had not been eliminated. I think once you’ve been in a job more than 3 or 4 years, the people you work with feel like family. After all, we’re spending more waking hours with them than our actual families!

Number of jobs? 6 Number of employers? 2

I have worked for four employers, but the interesting thing is I worked for my first employer for more than 20 years, then became a job hopper.

You asked how many jobs, but my response is what I assume you actually mean to know, which is how many EMPLOYERS. Even today, I’m carrying what are arguably the responsibilities for five different jobs – with a single paycheck. And while that sounds like a complaint, I’ve actually (mostly) enjoyed the diversity of roles and perspectives I have had in my 5-employer career. Of course, the “riff” these days has been that Millennials have “invented” job changing, though of course that’s an urban legend, perpetrated by people who by now should know better. The reality is that, at least since WWII, young people have always changed jobs relatively rapidly. The “problem” is that these days as you get older that job change isn’t always your choice. I feel fortunate at this stage in my career to have always made the external “jumps” on my timing – though there have been a fair number of internal “reassignments” and realignments I would just as soon have been spared… and at least two that triggered an external “jump” (on my terms!).

3 jobs. Last for 37+ years. Retiring next month. Enjoyed your publication and have found it very useful.

I have had 6 jobs since graduating in December of 1990. I am still working 3 of those jobs.

Only 2…there’s a lot of difference between 2 and 5 when you have only been in the workforce 17 years


I like stability. I owned my own company from 1980 to 1989 and I have had 2 jobs since then. I work for someone else now so I can make money and have free time. 🙂


NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not necessarily the stance of Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) or its affiliates.