Employee tenure is the length of time an employee works for an employer. Organizations, their customers and the employees themselves benefit from lengthy tenure; however, some workers prefer to change environments periodically to avoid boredom, stress and unfavorable working conditions.
Many companies prefer lengthy employee tenure because the collective knowledge and expertise in the organization remains high. Customers also benefit because they develop relationships and rapport with established staff over time. Compensation typically increases the longer employees stay with an organization. In academia, tenure is awarded to research faculty after several years of quality publications and teaching. Formal tenure carries a virtual "employment for life" meaning.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated the median tenure for American workers was 4.6 years as of 2012. This was a significant increase from the median tenure of 3.5 years reported by the BLS in 2000. Women tend to stay at jobs longer than men. By employment sector, architecture had the longest median tenure, and food preparation and service had the shortest.