Employee Tenure

March 2003, Vol. 24, No. 3
Paperback, 16 pp.
PDF, 206 kb
Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2003

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Executive Summary

Employee Tenure—This article updates previous EBRI publications that have examined employee tenure data of American workers and related issues. It provides the latest data on tenure from the U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey (CPS). In 2002, the median tenure for all wage and salary workers age 25 or older—the midpoint of wage and salary workers' length of employment in their present job—is only slightly shorter than it was in 1983: 4.7 years compared with 5.0 years. However, the median tenure for male wage and salary workers declined from 5.9 years in 1983 to 4.0 years in 2002. In contrast, the median tenure for female workers increased slightly, from 4.2 years in 1983 to 4.4 years in 2002. Consequently, the increase in the female workers' median tenure offset much of the decline in male workers' median tenure, leaving the overall level with a very small decline. Given the persistence of job changing and the increasing growth of plans that allow a lump-sum distribution, the preservation of retirement benefits becomes an important concern for employees as well as employers.