Timing pays when it comes to changing jobs

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Staying with a company long enough to earn a gold watch gave way some years ago to job hopping as a strategy to increase earnings and move up the corporate ladder. Now things are trickier. New research published in American Sociological Review indicates that job hopping works only to a point. Sociologist Sylvia Fuller of University of British Columbia examined data from about 6,000 workers tracked during their first 12 years in the work force. Changing jobs by choice (not as a result of layoffs, discharges and family-related matters) in the first 5 years in the work force led to equal or better wage outcomes than staying in the same job. However, after that there was no longer a big boost in wages, and job hoppers didn’t get the benefits of tenure. Fuller found that, on average, men earned about 2.4 percent more and women earned about 2.9 percent more for each year of tenure in the first 5 years of holding a job. After that, gains for women flattened, and wages for men dropped.