Implications of Employment Tenure Getting Shorter

Every year 18% of the Australian workforce started work with a new employer. New data released by the ABS reconfirmed that we are a nation of job hoppers. Almost one in six or 1,972,300 of the workforce has been with a company/business for less than 12 months.

Here’s how the distribution looks:

employment tenure

Employment tenure is even lesser with high-income earners. Our survey revealed that executives on average worked for almost eight employers during their lifetime; and the vast majority (25%) have worked for their current employer for less than a year.

Here’s a comparison of executive and the national average:

Destination Talent employment tenure vs EM

The fact is employment tenure is getting shorter, and all signs are suggesting it will continue to get shorter. Which means that recruiters will have to be eternally vigilant. Which in turn underscores the important of having robust processes, a talent pipeline and a recruitment strategy.

Recruiters will be called upon to deliver with increasing regularity.

Part of the reasons why agency recruiters continuously deliver result is because they start looking again immediately after a talent is found (placement made). Maintaining a fluid talent pipeline comes with the territory and gives them the edge over their corporate siblings.

Perhaps, the best time to start looking for talent is the day a new hire is made. That type of advance planning and thinking will insulate an organisation from risks associated with the vagaries of employee mobility and spiralling recruitment budgets.

4 replies
  1. Andy Klein
    Andy Klein says:

    Interesting stats, Phillip. Whilst there are a variety of reasons for this increase in employer mobility, some of the responsibility must fall back onto employers, who, statistics show, are increasingly losing their ability to maintain proper levels of employee engagement. So while I agree that businesses certainly must remain vigilant in their recruitment efforts, they must also double up on their efforts to keep their current people connected and committed to the organisation.

  2. Phillip Tusing
    Phillip Tusing says:

    Hi Andy,

    Totally agree. In fact I’ve previously blogged about why people leave and the importance of retention strategies. Our survey here ( and here ( also identified some of the reasons why people leave.

    On another note lookup ‘The high Performer’s Report’ (By Alexander Mann), it appears employers are not too concerned about ‘length of service’. It’s interesting that ‘69% of respondents ranked length of service as the least important aspect or not even applicable to defining a high performer’.

    The fact remains, in spite of employers’ best efforts people leave, and with increasing regularity. When that happens I think having a recruitment strategy, as opposed to a reactive approach to hiring, will insulate the organisation somewhat.

  3. Natasha Olsson-Seeto
    Natasha Olsson-Seeto says:

    A great piece of the talent puzzle presented here. A couple of comments – I wholeheartedly agree that companies must have a talent/recruitment strategy and understand how to create and maintaing a talent pipeline. I see a lot of organisations that seems to have been lulled into a false sense of security by the GFC and a false perception that there is plenty of talent to be had.

    I foresee a skills and talent shortage in some sectors emerging over the next 5 years which will make the demand seen 2 years ago seem like a walk in the park. I predict that the price of skills and labour will push up the cost of projects and potentially push out delivery times as the competition heats up.

    Further, I concur with the observation that ‘agency’ recruiters manage pipelines well – this is our core business. I would also argue that we are strategic and have a broader view of what is happening in the market than our more transactional colleagues in internal recruitment roles. We also work on lower volumes which means we can dedicate more time to each role – I speak to internal recruiters working on 50+ positions and told not to seek outside assistance. This is simply too many roles to expect one individual to fill or to give quality focus to. I think that companies are going to feel the opportunity cost of this false economy very heavily in coming years if not months.

  4. Andy Klein
    Andy Klein says:

    Some interesting insights there Phillip. As someone who works for a firm that helps businesses develop managers who can create engaged employees, it’s a bit disheartening to see how disinterested they actually may be in regards to retaining employees. So setting aside addressing how insane that is for the moment, yes, having a sound a recruitment strategy is clearly imperative.

    FYI, after downloading the report from, I wasn’t able to open the file from the compressed folder.


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