Ask a tech worker: How much job-hopping is too much job-hopping?

Aim to stick around longer than a year, but don’t stay too long, tech workers told me.

Two chat bubbles in front of a building: Ask a tech worker image

Tech workers have differing views on job-hopping.

Illustration: Christopher T. Fong/Protocol

Tech workers have more reason than ever to change jobs these days. In the race for talent, companies are offering more money, expanding already-plush benefits and adding flexibility. Job-hopping has always been part of the culture in Silicon Valley, but the current market is creating even more incentive to jump ship.

But employers — even in tech — still want to hire candidates who can commit and help scale a team or an organization: The cost alone of hiring a new employee can amount to as much as 20% of their annual salary, according to Ideal. And a resume with too many brief stints might raise eyebrows down the line. In this market, are job seekers even worried about it? On a balmy day at Salesforce Park this week, I asked tech workers I met about their views on job-hopping.

Ed Kraay, an agile transformation coach at Salesforce, took a relatively conservative view.

“You need enough relationship-building so that you can get things done,” Kraay said. “If you change your job every year, people look down on that, probably, because you’re not able to really do the things you need to give back.”

Some companies even expect employees to return their sign-on bonus if they leave within a certain period of time.

But there’s also a risk to staying in a job for too long. More than a decade in the same job can bring scrutiny, Kraay said.

“My last job, I was at for eight years, and it felt like almost too much,” Kraay said. That said, there are some situations where such a long tenure can work, like if the company transforms a lot over that period, he noted.

Generational differences play a role here, and the data shows that younger workers tend to job-hop more often. Research from CareerBuilder released in October showed that millennials and Gen Z spend less than three years in each job, on average, compared to five years for Gen X and eight years for Baby Boomers.

Much remains to be seen about Gen Z’s tenure in jobs, since the oldest members of that generation are only in their mid-20s. Some expect this generation to be more risk-averse and cautious about professional expectations than its older counterparts, according to CareerBuilder’s research.

Lee Murdock is still new to the workforce and said she’s changed jobs twice in the last two years. Now an associate program manager at Salesforce, Murdock said employees should stick around for at least a year before moving on.

“I think people should do whatever they want, but as far as career success, [less than a year] is not enough time to really integrate into a team and show results that you can take forward,” Murdock said.

Murdock pointed out that some companies require employees to stay on a team for two years before transferring to a new internal role — a clue about the longevity that employers still expect.

There are always exceptions for great job offers, she said.

“It’s an employee’s market right now, and folks should take advantage of that,” Murdock said.

Research from the Conference Board found that almost a third of professionals who have left their organization since the start of the pandemic now make more than 30% more money.

Gopi Karunamoorthy, finance manager at the ecommerce software maker Recharge Payments, agreed that job seekers should take advantage of the market.

“The longest I’ve ever stayed at a company is two years,” Karunamoorthy said. “Especially in San Francisco, in tech, there’s a lot of opportunity, and if you want to change, you have the right to choose.”

Karunamoorthy said he’s not worried that his record of frequently changing jobs will, at some point, get in the way. Sometimes, it’s hard to know if a job is the right fit before a few months in the role, he said.

“Hopefully, the interview process is good enough that you know what an opportunity’s worth and if it’s right for you, but it’s hard to judge in an hour or two hours,” Karunamoorthy said. “So you find out three months down the line, and go somewhere else.”

LA is a growing tech hub. But not everyone may fit.

LA has a housing crisis similar to Silicon Valley’s. And single-family-zoning laws are mostly to blame.

As the number of tech companies in the region grows, so does the number of tech workers, whose high salaries put them at an advantage in both LA's renting and buying markets.

Photo: Nat Rubio-Licht/Protocol

LA’s tech scene is on the rise. The number of unicorn companies in Los Angeles is growing, and the city has become the third-largest startup ecosystem nationally behind the Bay Area and New York with more than 4,000 VC-backed startups in industries ranging from aerospace to creators. As the number of tech companies in the region grows, so does the number of tech workers. The city is quickly becoming more and more like Silicon Valley — a new startup and a dozen tech workers on every corner and companies like Google, Netflix, and Twitter setting up offices there.

But with growth comes growing pains. Los Angeles, especially the burgeoning Silicon Beach area — which includes Santa Monica, Venice, and Marina del Rey — shares something in common with its namesake Silicon Valley: a severe lack of housing.

Keep Reading Show less
Nat Rubio-Licht

Nat Rubio-Licht is a Los Angeles-based news writer at Protocol. They graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in newspaper and online journalism in May 2020. Prior to joining the team, they worked at the Los Angeles Business Journal as a technology and aerospace reporter.

While there remains debate among economists about whether we are officially in a full-blown recession, the signs are certainly there. Like most executives right now, the outlook concerns me.

In any case, businesses aren’t waiting for the official pronouncement. They’re already bracing for impact as U.S. inflation and interest rates soar. Inflation peaked at 9.1% in June 2022 — the highest increase since November 1981 — and the Federal Reserve is targeting an interest rate of 3% by the end of this year.

Keep Reading Show less
Nancy Sansom

Nancy Sansom is the Chief Marketing Officer for Versapay, the leader in Collaborative AR. In this role, she leads marketing, demand generation, product marketing, partner marketing, events, brand, content marketing and communications. She has more than 20 years of experience running successful product and marketing organizations in high-growth software companies focused on HCM and financial technology. Prior to joining Versapay, Nancy served on the senior leadership teams at PlanSource, Benefitfocus and PeopleMatter.


SFPD can now surveil a private camera network funded by Ripple chair

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a policy that the ACLU and EFF argue will further criminalize marginalized groups.

SFPD will be able to temporarily tap into private surveillance networks in certain circumstances.

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Ripple chairman and co-founder Chris Larsen has been funding a network of security cameras throughout San Francisco for a decade. Now, the city has given its police department the green light to monitor the feeds from those cameras — and any other private surveillance devices in the city — in real time, whether or not a crime has been committed.

This week, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors approved a controversial plan to allow SFPD to temporarily tap into private surveillance networks during life-threatening emergencies, large events, and in the course of criminal investigations, including investigations of misdemeanors. The decision came despite fervent opposition from groups, including the ACLU of Northern California and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which say the police department’s new authority will be misused against protesters and marginalized groups in a city that has been a bastion for both.

Keep Reading Show less
Issie Lapowsky

Issie Lapowsky ( @issielapowsky) is Protocol's chief correspondent, covering the intersection of technology, politics, and national affairs. She also oversees Protocol's fellowship program. Previously, she was a senior writer at Wired, where she covered the 2016 election and the Facebook beat in its aftermath. Prior to that, Issie worked as a staff writer for Inc. magazine, writing about small business and entrepreneurship. She has also worked as an on-air contributor for CBS News and taught a graduate-level course at New York University's Center for Publishing on how tech giants have affected publishing.


These two AWS vets think they can finally solve enterprise blockchain

Vendia, founded by Tim Wagner and Shruthi Rao, wants to help companies build real-time, decentralized data applications. Its product allows enterprises to more easily share code and data across clouds, regions, companies, accounts, and technology stacks.

“We have this thesis here: Cloud was always the missing ingredient in blockchain, and Vendia added it in,” Wagner (right) told Protocol of his and Shruthi Rao's company.

Photo: Vendia

The promise of an enterprise blockchain was not lost on CIOs — the idea that a database or an API could keep corporate data consistent with their business partners, be it their upstream supply chains, downstream logistics, or financial partners.

But while it was one of the most anticipated and hyped technologies in recent memory, blockchain also has been one of the most failed technologies in terms of enterprise pilots and implementations, according to Vendia CEO Tim Wagner.

Keep Reading Show less
Donna Goodison

Donna Goodison (@dgoodison) is Protocol's senior reporter focusing on enterprise infrastructure technology, from the 'Big 3' cloud computing providers to data centers. She previously covered the public cloud at CRN after 15 years as a business reporter for the Boston Herald. Based in Massachusetts, she also has worked as a Boston Globe freelancer, business reporter at the Boston Business Journal and real estate reporter at Banker & Tradesman after toiling at weekly newspapers.


Kraken's CEO got tired of being in finance

Jesse Powell tells Protocol the bureaucratic obligations of running a financial services business contributed to his decision to step back from his role as CEO of one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges.

Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Kraken is going through a major leadership change after what has been a tough year for the crypto powerhouse, and for departing CEO Jesse Powell.

The crypto market is still struggling to recover from a major crash, although Kraken appears to have navigated the crisis better than other rivals. Despite his exchange’s apparent success, Powell found himself in the hot seat over allegations published in The New York Times that he made insensitive comments on gender and race that sparked heated conversations within the company.

Keep Reading Show less
Benjamin Pimentel

Benjamin Pimentel ( @benpimentel) covers crypto and fintech from San Francisco. He has reported on many of the biggest tech stories over the past 20 years for the San Francisco Chronicle, Dow Jones MarketWatch and Business Insider, from the dot-com crash, the rise of cloud computing, social networking and AI to the impact of the Great Recession and the COVID crisis on Silicon Valley and beyond. He can be reached at or via Google Voice at (925) 307-9342.

Latest Stories