The Results Are In: 41% of Employers Report Average Employee Tenure Five Years or Less

In a recent Refresh Leadership poll, we asked readers about the average employee tenure at their companies. Slightly more than 41% of respondents replied with five years or less, followed by 24% saying their average tenure was 5 – 10 years. And, rounding out the top three responses, 10% said 15 – 20 years.

The poll results were in line with research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that show average employee tenure for 2018 was 4.3 years for men and 4 years for women. Additionally, the BLS reports that in general, “median employee tenure was higher among older workers than younger ones. For example, the median tenure of workers ages 55 to 64 (10.1 years) is more than three times that of workers ages 25 to 34 (2.8 years). Also, a larger proportion of older workers than younger workers have 10 years or more of tenure. For example, 57 percent of workers ages 60 to 64 were employed for at least 10 years with their current employer in January 2018, compared with 12 percent of those ages 30 to 34.”

In today’s employment market, skilled job seekers hold all the cards. Businesses across all industries are struggling to recruit top talent to fill their open positions and the competition for the best and brightest workers is fierce. And that includes those workers who are already employed. With so many options on the table, the temptation to leave a job—despite being highly engaged—is greater than ever. From higher pay to better benefits or increased flexibility, companies are pulling all the stops to attract and retain skilled employees.

Are you at risk of losing your star employee to the competition? Here are four signs we highlighted in a previous Refresh Leadership article that they might be about to leave:

  1. The competition is hiring
    It’s a job seekers’ market and businesses are going the extra mile to be more creative in the way they recruit—including enticing skilled workers away from other companies. It’s a natural product of a strengthening economy, so keeping a finger on the pulse of local business activity will help you stay informed about the opportunities out there that could attract your best workers.
  2. They stop going the extra mile
    Top performers take pride in their work and often strive to overdeliver on expectations. So, they likely won’t all of a sudden stop meeting deadlines or let the quality of their work start to slip, but they may put less effort in going above and beyond.
  3. They’re more hesitant to commit to long-term projects
    Seeing a project through from beginning to end is important to high achievers. If one of your most reliable employees is reluctant to commit to a new, long-term initiative, it may be a sign they already know they won’t be around to finish it.
  4. They stop actively trying to advance in the company
    Star employees are growth-minded and always have a hand reaching for the next rung on the corporate ladder. If they start easing back on that forward momentum all of a sudden, it could be a sign they are courting offers from another company that can give their careers a bigger boost.

What are some other signs a top performer may be testing the waters and looking for new job opportunities? Let us know in the comments section below.

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