The net effect across all workers was a slight decrease, according to the research. However, recent tenure figures are comparable with those of past decades.
Job tenure for virtually all female age groups has been rising since 1951, most for women in the 45-54 age group.
The number of workers with two decades or more of service with their current employer climbed slowly through the 1990s to just above 10% last year.
From 1983 – 2000, 36-39% of workers had been with their current employer for less than two years. During the same period male employee tenure declined by:
- more than five years (from 15.3 years to 10.2 years) for those aged 55-64
- by 3.3 years (from 12.8 years to 9.5 years) for ages 45-54
- by nearly two years (from 7.3 years to 5.4 years) for ages 35-44.
Since 1998 male tenure has been relatively stable.
Tenure levels were much higher in the public sector than in the private sector but the sectors almost always moved in opposite directions. By the end of the survey period, public-sector tenure levels were more than double those of the private sector.
The survey noted that some of the public/private gap could be explained by the fact that government workers tend to be older – and less likely to be laid off – than those in the private sector.
EBRI is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization based in Washington, DC.