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New Study Examines the Industries and Occupations With the Longest Employee Tenure



More than 4 million people voluntarily left their jobs in December, and 4.5 million employees voluntarily left in November. That number broke records and marks the largest mass resignation the country has ever seen. 

Two years into the pandemic, which catalyzed the resignation movement, we may have forgotten what normal employee tenure looked like pre-COVID-19. 

CapRelo recently turned to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to track employee tenure across industries and occupations from 2010-2020 to paint a better picture of pre-pandemic turnover. 

“Whether employees are rejecting burnout, pulling the plug on unsatisfactory positions now that the pandemic is receding, or rethinking their values around work-life balance after the disruption of COVID-19,” said the global relocation company, “one thing is certain—many are quitting.”

By pulling the median years of tenure with the current employer for wage and salary workers for the month of January in 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020, CapRelo was able to analyze employee tenure by industry and occupation as well as gender and age. 

According to the study, the insurance, healthcare and manufacturing industries had the highest median years of tenure for the private sector jobs researched over the course of the ten year period. Employees stayed at a single job in these industries for 5.5 years on average.

“While the exact reason for remaining in these roles is unknown, it’s possible that these industries may provide higher job satisfaction, better benefits and a better work/life balance,” said CapRelo. 

On the other hand, the foodservice, construction, and agriculture industries had the shortest employee tenure, at 3, 4.1, and 4.2 years respectively. 

Data from 2021 and 2022 could very well tell a story of even shorter employee tenure, as the foodservice industry gets hit even harder with resignations where intense competition for employees has allowed workers to leverage better pay.

When looking at occupation tenure, management, architectural and engineering, and education, training, and library jobs, all showed the longest employee tenure. Food prep and serving was the occupation with the shortest tenure. 

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