EBRI: Job Tenure Ticking Up, But Gender Gap Disappearing
December 13, 2010
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 new report in the December issue of EBRI Notes.
However, the EBRI analysis shows there are 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 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.”
The findings are published in the December EBRI Notes, “Job Tenure Trends, 1983–2010,” and are based on the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey.