I recently met Ankur, a senior vice-president in a reputed MNC at Gurugram. After graduating from prestigious IIT Kharagpur in 2002, he joined XYZ, an analytics firm started by some IITians. After 6 years, XYZ was acquired by ABC. It has been 16 years and he is still working in his first company.
I also know Nikhil who graduated from a normal college, but he kept switching jobs after each 3-4 years. Today he has more than 15 years of experience. In his 6th job, he has reached till VP-level.
The two people who pursuaded their career path very differently, but both reached their goals in almost equal time.
Many people often ask- when is the perfect time for job switching?
I would say, it depends on your personal circumstances. Someone gets his destination in the first company itself, others may have to switch multiple times to reach their destination.
So stop seeking a generic answer that suits all.
In general terms, interviewers interpret less than 2 years of experience at one company as lack of loyalty and less than 1 year as professional instability.
But it does not mean that having 3 years of experience is a proof for stability. But 3-4 years of experience sounds good, if not great!
It is said that people who stay at a job for more than 2 years are paid 50% less.
Job hopping plays a key role in taking you to your dream job, because it helps you build skills faster and takes you out of the comfort zone.
However if you are being promoted after each 1-2 years in the same company, there is no need for job switching.
At last, what matters is a better learning opportunity with a good salary. So if you are being offered in same place then job hopping is obviously not needed.
There are certain signs that indicate now you should switch jobs.
1. If you are not getting enough opportunities even after reaching the threshold in a position, you should think to move forward.
2. If you got a late raise but you were fine at your responsibilities, this is time to think of job switching.
One last advice
Don’t leave a job without having another offer in your hand. Because then you may feel enormous pressure and even the recruiters will take benefit of your situation.
Here is a post that may help you in dealing with the questions related to salary expectations while switching jobs.