Thursday, October 23, 2014

Employee Tenure Increased During Recessionary Years

Median tenure for employees 16 and over in January 2014 was 4.6 years. This estimate from the Bureau of Labor Statistics means that half of all workers in January 2014 had been working for their current employer for more than 4.6 years, and half of all workers had been working for their current employer for less than 4.6 years.

Changes in employment levels and the unemployment rate were the focus of the most recent recession, but employee tenure saw a shift -- although perhaps less dramatically -- during this period too. In fact, between 2008 and 2012, median employee tenure jumped from 4.1 years to 4.6 years. Median tenure did not change between 2012 and 2014.

Tenure likely increased for a number of reasons. First, tenure tends to rise as the population ages. Since employee tenure naturally increases with age (on average), an increase of workers in older age brackets push median tenure up. Another reason for an increase in tenure is a decrease in job openings and hires. A decrease in job openings and hires means employees are more likely to stay put in current positions.

As median tenure has increased over the past decade, the gap between tenure for men and women has narrowed. Both groups increased tenure, as population increase and the recession affected both groups, but an increased labor force participation rate among women has helped to close this gap.

Median tenure is lower for those with less than a high school diploma. Despite this, there is not a distinct relationship between longer tenure and higher educational attainment. For example, high school graduates had a median tenure of 5.8 years in January 2014, but those with a bachelor's degree had a median tenure of 5.4 years.

Median tenure varies quite a bit depending on one's occupation, and tends to increase as wages increase. Management and professional (6.2 years), education (6.2 years), and protective service workers (6.5 years) have longer tenures, while food prep (2.2 years) and personal care service (2.9 years) workers have shorter median tenure. All occupations saw an increase in median tenure between 2006 and 2014.

For more on median tenure in the United States: Employee Tenure in 2014.

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