'Employee Tenure Trend Lines, 1983-2010,' and 'Who Might Respond to Financial Incentives That Use Lower Cost Sharing to Change Behavior? Findings from the 2010 Health Confidence Survey.'

December 2010, Vol. 31, No. 12
Paperback, 20 pp.
PDF, 1,876 kb
Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2010

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Executive Summary

Employee Tenure Trend Lines, 1951–2010


TENURE INCREASED IN 2010: The median (mid-point) tenure for all wage and salary workers age 25 or older was slightly higher in 2010, at 5.2 years, compared with 5.0 years in 1983. However, the median tenure for male wage and salary workers declined from 5.9 years in 1983 to 5.3 years in 2010. In contrast, the median tenure for female wage and salary workers increased from 4.2 years in 1983 to 5.1 years in 2010. Consequently, the increase in the median tenure of female workers more than offsets the decline for male workers, leaving the overall level slightly higher.


PRIVATE- VS. PUBLIC-SECTOR TENURE GAP SHRINKING: The gap between private- and public-sector workers’ tenure is quite striking, with far longer tenure found in public-sector jobs. However, the percentage of long-term public-sector workers dropped in 2006 and in 2010, while the percentage of long-term private-sector workers are growing.


NO GOLD WATCH: The tenure results presented in this report indicate that, historically, most workers have repeatedly changed jobs during their working careers, and all evidence suggests that they will continue to do so in the future. This has major implications for pensions (which do not reward short-tenure workers), lump-sum distributions from 401(k) plans (which can put workers’ retirement savings at risk), and public policy: Public-sector employers are facing the retirement of a significant number of their most experienced workers at a time when social programs are about to face tremendous increases in enrollment.


Who Might Respond to Financial Incentives That Use Lower Cost Sharing to Change Behavior? Findings from the 2010 Health Confidence Survey


INCENTIVES: Understanding how individuals respond to financial incentives in their health coverage is crucial to the design of plans that are effective in steering them to high-quality, cost-effective providers. This article uses data from the EBRI/MGA 2010 Health Confidence Survey to examine whether health care consumers would be interested in, or might find useful, financial incentives that are aimed at changing an individual’s health behavior.


IMPORTANCE OF DEMOGRAPHICS: The impact of incentives varies with selected demographics: There was no significant difference between men and women, but younger individuals were more likely than older ones to report that incentives to choose the most effective treatment would be extremely or very useful. There is also evidence that minorities and lower-income individuals are more likely to find lower cost-sharing incentives useful when it comes to using more effective treatments. No difference was found by education level. Individuals who are not satisfied with the quality of care they have received are more likely to report that lower cost sharing would be a useful incentive to choose a more effective treatment.