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Economic News Release
CPS CPS Program Links

Employee Tenure Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (ET) Tuesday, September 22, 2020 	   USDL-20-1791

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

                        EMPLOYEE TENURE IN 2020

The median number of years that wage and salary workers had been with
their current employer was 4.1 years in January 2020, little changed
from 4.2 years in January 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
reported today.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Chief Evaluation Office sponsored the
January 2020 survey to collect information on employee tenure. Since
1996, these surveys have been conducted biennially in January as a
supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS). The CPS is a
monthly sample 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 median tenure of
workers, including changes in the age profile among workers, as well
as changes in the number of hires and separations. For further
information about the CPS, see the Technical Note in this news release.

Demographic Characteristics

In January 2020, median employee tenure (the point at which half of
all workers had more tenure and half had less tenure) for men was 4.3
years, unchanged from the median in January 2018. For women, median 
tenure was 3.9 years in January 2020, little different from the median
of 4.0 years in January 2018. Among men, 29 percent of wage and salary
workers had 10 years or more of tenure with their current employer in
January 2020, higher than the figure of 27 percent for women. (See 
tables 1 and 3.)

Median employee tenure was generally higher among older workers than
younger ones. For example, the median tenure of workers ages 55 to
64 (9.9 years) was more than three times that of workers ages 25 to
34 years (2.8 years). Also, a larger proportion of older workers than
younger workers had 10 years or more of tenure. For example, among
workers ages 60 to 64, 54 percent had been employed for at least 10
years with their current employer in January 2020, compared with 10
percent of those ages 30 to 34. (See tables 1 and 2.)

Among the major race and ethnicity groups, 29 percent of Whites had
been with their current employer for 10 years or more in January 2020,
compared with 22 percent of Hispanics, 23 percent of Blacks, and 26 
percent of Asians. (See table 3.) The longer tenure among Whites can
be explained, in part, by the fact that they tend to be older. Twenty-
three percent of White wage and salary workers were age 55 and over;
by comparison, the proportions for Blacks (19 percent), Asians (19
percent), and Hispanics (15 percent) were smaller.

In January 2020, the share of wage and salary workers with a year or
less of tenure with their current employer was 22 percent, unchanged
from the proportion in January 2018. This short-tenured group includes
new hires, job losers who found new jobs during the previous year,
and workers who had voluntarily changed employers during the year.
Younger workers were more likely than older workers to be short-tenured
employees. For example, in January 2020, 75 percent of 16- to 19-year-
olds had tenure of 12 months or less with their current employer,
compared with 10 percent of workers ages 55 to 64. (See table 3.)

Among workers age 25 and over, men and women with less than a high
school diploma had lower median tenure in January 2020 than those with
more education. The median tenure for men and women with less than a
high school diploma was 4.8 years and 4.1 years, respectively. College
graduates had median tenure of 5.2 years and 4.9 years, respectively.
(See table 4.)


In January 2020, wage and salary workers in the public sector had a
median tenure of 6.5 years, nearly twice the median of 3.7 years for
private-sector employees. One factor behind this difference is age.
About 3 in 4 government workers were age 35 and over, compared with
about 3 in 5 private wage and salary workers. Federal employees had
a higher median tenure (8.2 years) than state (5.6 years) or local
government (6.6 years) employees. (See table 5.)

Within the private sector, workers in manufacturing had the highest
tenure among major industries at 5.1 years in January 2020. In
contrast, workers in leisure and hospitality had the lowest median
tenure (2.3 years). These differences in tenure reflect many factors,
one of which is varying age distributions across the industries;
workers in manufacturing tend to be older than those in leisure and


Among the major occupations, workers in management, professional,
and related occupations had the highest median tenure (4.9 years)
in January 2020. Within this group, employees with jobs in management
occupations (5.8 years), legal occupations (5.8 years), architecture
and engineering occupations (5.1 years), and educational, training,
and library occupations (5.0 years) had the longest tenure. Workers
in service occupations, who are generally younger than persons
employed in management, professional, and related occupations, had
the lowest median tenure (2.9 years). Among employees working in
service occupations, food service workers had the lowest median tenure
at 1.9 years. (See table 6.)

The PDF version of the news release

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Last Modified Date: September 22, 2020