Job-Hopping and the American Worker

The Life Cycle of the American Worker

The Life Cycle of the American Worker —

The conventional wisdom on job tenure in the United States is that it is shrinking. While it is true that a forty-year career at one company is increasingly becoming a thing of the past, the numbers aren’t as startling as you might imagine.

The Great Recession left many workers reluctant to look for greener pastures in the form of new jobs. In the wake of the downturn, however, younger workers are, in fact, job hopping at increasing rates.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median number of years that wage and salary workers had been with their current employer was 4.6 years as of January 2014, unchanged from January 2012. This is the most recent data available, based on a survey of 60,000 households in the United States.

Median employee tenure was higher among older workers than younger ones. For workers ages 55 to 64, the average length of time spent at one job was 10.4 years—more than three times that of workers ages 25 to 34 years (3.0 years).

The lifecycle of the American worker varies by industry. Employees in the leisure and hospitality industries tend to have significantly shorter job tenures than those in manufacturing, and the tech industry is also notorious for its on-the-move workers.

Employees may shift between companies more frequently in the technology startup world as businesses close, reorganize or pivot to capture new markets. According to the BLS, wage and salary workers in the public sector nearly double the median tenure of private sector employees, 7.8 years versus 4.1 years.

Related Article: Ready For a Career Change? Your Prep Guide to Jumpstart Your New Life



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