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Spring 2013
Vol. 57, Number 1
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How long do workers stay with the same employer?

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Every year, workers leave or change their employer. But how long do they stay before moving on? New data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that wage and salary workers had been with their current employer for a median of 4.6 years in January 2012.

As the chart shows, employee tenure varied by industry. In government, for example, workers had been with the same employer for a median of 7.8 years, compared with 2.4 years for workers in the leisure and hospitality industry.

Employee tenure by industry depends on many factors, one of which is age. Younger workers have fewer years of tenure than older workers, who generally have been in the workforce longer. For example, data show that workers aged 25 to 34 had been with their current employer for about half as long as workers aged 45 to 50. Government workers as a group are usually older than leisure and hospitality workers, which helps, in part, to explain the difference in their median tenures.

Other factors that might affect tenure by industry are fluctuations in the numbers of new hires and separations.

These data come from a biennial supplement to the Current Population Survey (CPS). To learn more, see the BLS news release at or visit the CPS website at

Median years of tenure with current employer for employed wage and salary workers, aged 16 years and over, by selected industry, January 2012

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey

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U.S. Department of Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Last Updated: March 26, 2013