Which Job Titles Are Most Likely to Move?

November 12, 2014 at 9:33 AM by Rob Stevenson

Even when your all-star candidate breezes through their interviews, makes a good impression on the whole team, and seems to be perfect fit, you may still want to do some anti-recruiting and brainstorm reasons why they might not ultimately be a great hire. Before you finally extend the golden ticket to join your company, you may ask your team "but are they a flight risk?" That's the question we wanted to answer, and to learn more, we consulted Entelo's database of over 45 million professionals. Below are the results of many MYSQL queries aimed at learning which tech titles are the most likely to leave your company.


First, we pulled the most popular tech titles in our database: Software Engineer, Senior Software Engineer, Web Developer, Developer, Systems Engineer, Ops Manager, Programmer, Software Architect, and Systems Admin. Then, to assess flightiness, we ran queries to determine how many different companies a professional with each title had listed in the past five years.


Below is the percentage of professionals who have listed two or more companies in the past 5 years, grouped by title:

Which Job Titles Are Most Likely to Move?
As you can see, the vast majority of professionals have a surprising tendency to stay put. The range of candidates with only 1 company in the past 5 years spanned from 82.4% (Web Developer) to a whopping 94.4% (Ops Manager). What does this mean for you? Well, on the one hand, once you've placed an Ops Manager, Systems Engineer, or Software Architect, odds are they're probably staying put. Conversely, your Web Developers and Software Engineers are more likely to require some pre-emptive retention.

It was at this point we realized the same thing that's probably occurring to you: having two jobs in five years doesn't make someone a mercenary, and it hardly even makes them flighty. To more accurately assess what percentage of candidates were truly flighty, we next excluded all the candidates who had only one position. We were left with only the candidates who had worked at two or more companies, allowing us to see how likely a candidate is to move on to a third or fourth company once they've left their first company. Here, the results were a bit more meaningful:

Which Job Titles Are Most Likely to Move?
Though the vast majority only held two positions, the percentage that went on to work for multiple companies was much greater than when including those with only one company. The takeaway here is that once a candidate has already had two jobs in this five year span, they are considerably more likely to move than someone who's only had one previous position in that same time period. Here, we're finally digging down into the truly "flighty". It sounds simple, but the data appears to support the idea that previous mobility is indicative of future mobility.

According to Entelo's data on the most popular tech titles, your Ops Managers and Systems Engineers are most likely to stay put, whereas your Developers, Web Developers, and Software Engineers may end up with 3 or more positions in a 5 year period. While there's some overlap in the responsibitilites of these titles, it's important to remember why candidates might move. If they're stuck with the same title for years and don't see the way up above them, they could jump ship. It's strange to think something as simple and often arbitrary as a title could effect someone's likelihood to stick around, yet that's what the data appears to suggest.

Are you surprised by the movement of Developers, or by the relative stagnation of Ops Managers? Leave a comment or tweet @EnteloRob!

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