New research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) has found that Americans are staying at their jobs longer, on average, than in 2010. The average length of time per job was measured at 5.4 years in 2012, compared to 5.2 years in 2010 and 5 years in 1983. The median tenure for male workers actually decreased from 5.9 years in 1983 to 5.5 years in 2012 while the median tenure for female workers from 4.2 years to 5.4 years during the same period. Full-career jobs have always been a rarity for most American workers.
“Career-long jobs never existed for most workers,” Craig Copeland, EBRI senior research associate and author of the report, said. “Historically, most workers have repeatedly changed jobs during their working careers, and all evidence suggests that they will continue to do so in the future.”
Historically, the U.S. workforce has had a relatively low median tenure and even older male workers (aged 55 to 64 years), who saw the largest change in tenure, plummeted from 14.7 years in 1963 to just 10.7 years in 2012. The overall trend of decreasing median tenure for men, however, has been more than offset by an increase for women workers. Also, the once wide gap between the traditionally long-tenured public sector and the shorter-tenured private sector has narrowed significantly.