October 20, 2008
That is the average length of a job in the U.S. according to The Career News newsletter (sorry, no link). I find that number almost shocking, but the newsletter does not call out the criteria for their average. I’m thinking part-time, minimum wage, seasonal and other positions could drag that number down. At any rate, it does provide a bit of an eye opener to how our job market is changing.
Gen Y is typically not a generation to be known as “lifers.” They begin their work career without discussions of pensions and retirement. Those days are long gone. Instead, they are focused on skill development, jobs that interest them on a personal level and an opportunity to affect their world. To me, it almost seems as if they take a macro-view to their position (environmental impact, social impact, long-term skills, next growth step, etc.) as opposed to a micro-view (company hierarchy, internal promotions, retirement options, etc.).
There are some restraints on Gen Y becoming complete employment gypsies. According to the same newsletter:
Seven in 10 Americans admit that they’d change jobs tomorrow if only they could.
I’m thinking financial restraints are impacting this decision. Most people only change jobs if the opportunity of the new position is perceived as greater than the opportunity at the present position. The fragile economy and the risk of downsizing is a strong deterrent to most employees looking to make a jump.
At any rate, I suspect the 3.5 year number is going to shrink in the near future once the economy rebounds and the Boomers continue to retire.