Tenure in the 21st century: Employees are staying put

Employee tenure—the average length of time someone has spent working continuously for the same employer—has risen steadily since the turn of the century. In 2000, the average employee had been with his or her current employer for 4.7 years, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) analysis of U.S. Census data. By 2014, average tenure had risen to 5.5 years.

That’s down from 5.9 years in 1983, when the BLS first ran the numbers. However, the last time average tenure topped 5.5 years was in 1987.

Tenure may have risen in recent years due to the effects of the Great Recession. Employees likely stayed put because there were few jobs to lure them away from their employers. They may continue to stay put because of a hangover effect, perceiving more value in job security than in seeking out other employment opportunities.

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