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Economic News Release
CPS CPS Program Links

Employee Tenure Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Tuesday, September 14, 2010           USDL-10-1278

Technical information:  (202) 691-6378  *  *
Media contact:          (202) 691-5902  *

                        EMPLOYEE TENURE IN 2010

The median number of years that wage and salary workers had been with their 
current employer was 4.4 in January 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 
reported today. This measure, referred to as employee tenure, was 4.1 years 
in January 2008. The increase in tenure among those at work reflects, in part, 
relatively large job losses among less-senior workers in the most recent 
recession. //TENURE QCT Test 10/31/2023// 

Information on employee tenure has been obtained from supplemental questions 
to the Current Population Survey (CPS) every 2 years since 1996. These data are 
collected as part of the Displaced Worker Supplement, which is sponsored by the 
Employment and Training Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor. The CPS 
is a monthly survey of about 60,000 households that provides information on the
labor force status of the civilian noninstitutional population age 16 and over. 
The questions about employee tenure measure how long workers had been with their 
current employer at the time of the survey. A number of factors can affect the 
median tenure of workers, including changes in the age profile among workers, as 
well as changes in the number of hires and separations. (See the Technical Note.)

Demographic Characteristics

Median employee tenure (the point at which half of all workers had more tenure 
and half had less tenure) was generally higher among older workers than younger 
ones. For example, the median tenure of workers ages 55 to 64 (10.0 years) was 
more than three times that of workers ages 25 to 34 (3.1 years). A larger percent-
age of older workers than younger workers had 10 years or more of tenure. For 
instance, more than half of all workers ages 60 to 64 were employed for at least 
10 years with their current employer in January, compared with only 13 per-
cent of individuals ages 30 to 34. (See tables 1 and 2.)

In January 2010, median tenure for men was 4.6 years, up from 4.2 years in January
2008. For women, median tenure in January 2010 was 4.2 years, slightly higher
than the median (3.9 years) in January 2008. Twenty-nine percent of wage and 
salary workers age 16 and over had 10 years or more of tenure with their current 
employer in January 2010. Among men, 30 percent had at least 10 years of tenure 
with their current employer, compared with 28 percent among women. (See tables 1
and 3.)

Among the major race and ethnicity groups, 20 percent of Hispanics had been with 
their current employer for 10 years or more in January, compared with 30 percent
of whites, 26 percent of blacks, and 21 percent of Asians. (See table 3.) The
shorter tenure among Hispanic workers can be explained, in part, by their relative
youth. Forty-six percent of Hispanic workers were between the ages of 16 and
34; by comparison, the proportions for whites (35 percent), blacks (38 percent),
and Asians (36 percent) were smaller.

The share of wage and salary workers with a year or less of tenure with their 
current employer was 19 percent in January 2010, lower than the proportion in Jan-
uary 2008. This short-tenured group includes new entrants and reentrants to the
workforce, job losers who found new jobs during the previous year, and workers 
who had voluntarily changed employers during the previous year. Younger workers 
were more likely than older workers to be short-tenured employees. For example, in
January 2010, 67 percent of 16- to 19-year-olds had tenure of 12 months or less
with their current employer, compared with 8 percent of workers ages 55 to 64.
(See table 3.)


In January, wage and salary workers in the public sector had nearly double the 
tenure of their counterparts in the private sector, 7.2 and 4.0 years, respectively. 
(See table 5.) The longer tenure among workers in the public sector is explained, 
in part, by the age profile of government workers. Seventy-four percent of govern-
ment workers were ages 35 and over, compared with 62 percent of private wage and 
salary workers.

Within the private sector, workers in manufacturing had the highest median tenure 
among the major industries (6.1 years). In contrast, workers in leisure and hos-
pitality had the lowest median tenure (2.5 years). These differences in tenure 
reflect many factors, including the varying age distribution of workers across 
industries. On average, workers in manufacturing tend to be older than those in 
leisure and hospitality. (See table 5.)


In January, workers in management, professional, and related  occupations had
the highest median tenure (5.2 years) among the major occupational groups. Within 
this group, employees in management occupations (6.1 years) and in architecture 
and engineering occupations (5.7 years) had the longest tenure. Workers in ser-
vice occupations, who are generally younger than those employed in management, 
professional, and related occupations, had the lowest median tenure (3.1 years). 
Among employees working in service jobs, food service workers had the lowest 
median tenure, at 2.3 years. (See table 6.)

Last Modified Date: October 31, 2023