How Long Does an Average Employee Stay With a Company?

by Wendy Lau, Demand Media
    Employee tenure is affected by several things.

    Employee tenure is affected by several things.

    On average, people stay with an employer about 4.6 years, according to 2012 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Traditionally, job candidates who stayed with their employers for a substantial period were viewed favorably by hiring managers, but younger generations in the workforce are taking a different approach to work, often staying with employers for shorter periods of time. Employees choose to stay with employers for various reasons, but "job hopping" is becoming the new normal, according to a 2012 ''Forbes'' article.

    Older Workers Vs. Younger Workers

    How long an employee stays at a company varies greatly by age, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Older workers tend to stay at companies longer than their younger counterparts. For instance, employees ages 65 and older had a median tenure of 10.3 years, compared to 3.2 years for those between the ages of 25 and 34, according to the BLS in January 2012. For workers ages 55 and and older, more than half had been with their current employers at least 10 years.

    Public Sector Vs. Private Sector

    Employees in the public sector have a longer tenure, almost double that of the private sector, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In January 2012, the difference was 7.8 versus 4.2 years. The public sector had an older workforce, with three out four government workers over the age of 35, compared to three out five workers in the private sector.

    Reasons to Stay

    Employees stay with an employer for many reasons, including to avoid appearing like a job hopper. Job hopping is usually characterized by staying with an employee for less than a year or two. Many employers have viewed an employee who stays with an employer for such a short period of time as a potential risk because they don't want to waste training and development time on an employee who may quickly leave them. In the past, employees have chosen to stay with their employers for the long haul to maintain pension plans. However, as CNBC reports, pensions have been on a steep decline, which has greatly affected tenure for a younger generation of workers.

    Reasons to Leave

    Employees may feel the need to move on to a different employer for reasons such as wanting career advancement or personal development opportunities, or needing a more flexible work schedule and telecommuting options not available at their current employer. Company changes not within the employee's control, such as a new direction in management or a new direct supervisor, may spur an employee to leave.

    About the Author

    Wendy Lau entered the communication field in 2001. She works as a freelance writer and prior to that was a PR executive responsible for health care clients' written materials. Her writing experience include technical articles, corporate materials, online articles, blogs, byline articles, travel itineraries and business profile listings. She holds a Bachelor of Science in corporate communications from Ithaca College.

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