Sunday, January 09, 2011

Job tenure 

From a consultant's email with interesting employment factoids, the "job tenure" gap seems to have closed:

The median length of time that full-time workers stay in their jobs ticked up slightly in 2010, to just over five years, continuing a slow increase in job tenure that began in 2004, according to a report by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). However, the EBRI analysis shows there are also significantly different long-term trends by type of worker. For instance, job tenure for men has been falling since 1983, while women's tenure has been rising over that period, to the point where the once-big gender gap in job tenure has now almost closed. Because women's tenure has been increasing while men's tenure has been falling, the overall job tenure rate has been relatively stable. EBRI also found that older workers appear to be staying in their jobs longer. But overall, the results show that the American work force over the past three decades has always had a high level of turnover, and probably will in the future as well. "For the great majority of American workers, so-called 'career jobs' never existed, and they certainly do not exist today," said Craig Copeland, EBRI Senior Research Associate, and author of the study. "A distinct minority of workers have ever spent their entire working career at just one employer."

I wonder how much of the increase in average job tenure is purely or largely a function of demographics. The American working population is aging, at least until baby boomers retire in large numbers. Do older people, who may have exorcised their ambition demons and have a harder time getting new jobs, switch jobs less often younger employees?


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