NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Staying In The Same Job

May 25, 1997

A surprising number of American workers are choosing to remain in their jobs for their entire career.

  • In 1996, nearly half of all American workers aged 45 to 54 had worked for their employer for 10 years or more, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • One-fifth of those in that age group had been with the same employer for 20 years or more.
  • In the 55-to-65-year-old group, nearly one-third had worked 20 or more years for the same employer.

Younger employees, who tend still to be single and childless, are apt to change jobs more frequently than older workers.

  • In 1992, workers between the ages of 18 and 30 held an average of 7.5 jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Included in that statistic is employment of any duration, including summer jobs while attending college.

Employment specialists recommend that employees be given new tasks to master so as not to go stale and lose interest in their work. Management consultant Judith Bardwick says that most difficult tasks are mastered in three to five years. Employees need to be given the opportunity to keep learning, stretching and be required to perform at their highest possible level.

Source: Julia Lawlor, "Staying Put: The Surprising Longevity of Lifetime Employment," New York Times, May 25, 1997.


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