Average Employee Tenure is 4.2 years. Good or Bad?


In a report released Sept. 22, 2016, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated the average tenure for employees with their current company in January, 2016 is 4.2 years.   Down from 4.6 years in January 2014.

National unemployment in Jan. 2014 was 6.7%, and 4.9% in Jan. 2016; a decrease of 1.8%.

Many would draw a quick correlation between the decreased unemployment rate to the reduced tenure for employees between Jan. 2014 to Jan. 2016.  Our anecdotal experience in the staffing industry leads us to the same conclusion; the improving U.S. economy led to increased employment opportunities, and thereby made it easier for employees to find employment outside their current employer.  Good for the employee, but problematic for the employer.

One bright spot buried in the report is that architecture and engineering related professions had 5.1 years average tenure; better news for the VAR / MSP community.

CEOs, Business Owners, and Senior Management staff all understand shorter employee tenure can lead to lower productivity, increased training costs, and in some cases decreased top line revenue.  If you are a smaller firm, employee turnover can be catastrophic in its challenge.

Are there some obvious actions firms can take to minimize employee turnover, or at least mitigate some of the more damaging results?   We think there are 3 often overlooked, yet effective methods to combat employee turnover and increase employee job satisfaction.  They are:

  1. Peer to peer mentoring programs
  2. Cross-functional training between peers
  3. Increased / improved in-house training or use of 3rd party training courses

If you happen to be a smaller sized VAR or MSP, an obvious benefit of any of these three actions is to improve the ability of your firm to deliver services to your clients if you unexpectedly become short-handed.  The positive emotional impact on your employees is strong as it delivers the message you not only have confidence in their ability to learn, but also believe they are worth investing in, which leads to increased job satisfaction and work tenure.

One other interesting observation relates to what we might term “generational tenure”.  For example:

  • Median tenure for workers aged 55 – 64 was 10.1 years.
  • Median tenure for workers aged 25 – 34 was 2.8 years

Clearly the younger generation is more willing to change jobs for whatever the underlying reasons.

An earlier VAR Staffing blog (Companies are not just built on Superstars) offers ideas on how to help build your company with employees other than superstars.  VAR Staffing welcomes the opportunity to share strategies our clients have used to improve employee tenure and improve work satisfaction.       Call us at 972-996-0966.