How often do people change jobs during a lifetime?

How often do people change jobs during a lifetime?

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Source: The Balance Careers

The old ideal of retiring after 40 years with one company, taking home a pension and a gold watch, is fading into the past. For many reasons, more Americans are changing jobs several times throughout their careers

For one thing, only 54% of workers think their employer is loyal to them, so that may lead to a greater willingness to change jobs.2 For another, employees may find it too expensive to be committed to one employer for years on end. Raises have been hovering around 3% on average, leading some employees to jump to a new job for a more significant pay increase. Staying at the same place over the long haul can cost workers thousands of dollars with no real reward in terms of job security.

It can be difficult to determine the number of times people have changed jobs throughout their working lives, due in part that there is no current consensus on what is considered a career change. For some, an internal transfer or a promotion may be considered a change, while others only consider it a job change if there is a jump to a new company.

Not only is the definition of a job change in and of itself complicated, but even seemingly minute details like the duration of time a person must stay in a role for it to be considered a career are up for debate.


The Average Number of Times People Change Jobs

Fuzzy definitions aside, the average number of jobs in a lifetime is 12, according to a 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) survey of baby boomers.

Many workers spend five years or less in every job, so they devote more time and energy transitioning from one job to another. In its 2018 Employee Tenure Summary, the BLS reported, the median employee tenure was 4.3 years for men and 4.0 years for women.

Because job changes are frequent, it’s more important than ever before for workers to be experts at job searching and networking. The successful worker is one who is up to date on trends in their industry, as well as practiced at interviewing and connecting with potential employers. Upgrading employment status has become an ongoing process, rather than something done once or twice during a career.

Job Changes by Gender

Remarkably, the BLS survey revealed that women held almost as many jobs as men throughout their careers, despite taking more time out of their careers for child-rearing activities. On average, men held 12.5 jobs, and women held 12.1 jobs.

Job Changes by Age

A worker’s age impacted the number of jobs that they held in any period. Workers held an average of 5.7 jobs during the six-year period when they were 18 to 24 years old. However, the number of jobs held declined with age.

Workers had an average of 4.5 jobs when they were 25 to 34 years old, and 2.9 jobs when they were 35 to 44 years old. During the most established phase of many workers’ careers, ages 45 to 52, they held only an average of 1.9 jobs.

Job Changes by Race

From age 18 to age 24, Whites made more job changes than Blacks or Latinos. Whites held 5.9 jobs between the ages of 18 and 24, while Blacks held 4.8 jobs, and Latinos held 5.1 jobs.

There were only minor differences in later age ranges among the different groups. Whites, Blacks, and Latinos held between 4.3 and 4.6 jobs from age 25 to age 34, and between 2.9 and 3.1 jobs from age 35 to age 44. From age 45 to age 52, all three groups held an average of 1.9 jobs.1

Average Duration of Jobs

The BLS Employee Tenure Summary notes that a high percentage of younger workers had short-duration jobs as of January 2018. Among jobs held by workers ages 25 to 34, the median tenure is 2.8 years.

From ages 35 to 44, the median job duration was 4.9 years, and from 45 to 54, the median tenure at a job was 7.6 years. Median tenure rose to 10.1 years for workers aged 55 to 64.

The job sectors with the highest median tenure include management, engineering, legal, and education. Workers in service occupations had the lowest median tenure.4

Reasons for Changing Jobs

Some examples of the common reasons that workers change jobs include:

  • Seeking higher pay
  • Better benefits and perks
  • Relocation to a different geographic area
  • Career advancement
  • Choosing a less stressful job
  • Escaping an incompetent or negative boss
  • Changing career focus
  • Better work-life balance
  • Reorganization at their company
  • Layoff due to duplication of their job resulting from a merger or acquisition
  • More interesting work
  • Better work schedule
  • Skills and abilities didn’t fit the job
  • Lack of recognition for accomplishments
  • Outsourcing of job function
  • Company moved to a new location
  • Better alignment between personal values and organizational priorities


If you would like a complimentary consultant please reach out today. We would love to post your job posting on our Women in Biz Network Diversity-Driven Career Board. 


Ready to workforce trends impacting your hiring? Here are some tips to consider.

Ready to workforce trends impacting your hiring? Here are some tips to consider.

If you would like a complimentary consultant please reach out today. We would love to post your job posting on our Women in Biz Network Diversity-Driven Career Board. 


Content courtesy of 

No matter the industry, if 2020 taught us anything, it’s that HR leaders and recruiters need to be ready to adapt and adjust their hiring plans. Using Monster data and expert insights, here are five key hiring trends to watch in 2021, along with tips on how to prepare.

  • For sales and related occupations, Monster is seeing month-over-month growth in new job postings.
  • Since June, there’s also been a steady increase month over month in new manufacturing job postings for roles including team assemblers, machinists, production workers, inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers and operating workers, assemblers and fabricators, all other, welders, cutters and welder fitters.
  • And with anticipation that virtual work and school are sticking around for a bit, there’s going to be continued demand for technology roles – Monster has started to see a renewed surge in new job postings in this sector.

1. Companies will focus more on diversity, equity & inclusion in hiring

According to Monster research, more than four in five (86%) candidates globally say diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace is important to them. Additional research found that 62% of people would go as far as turning down a job offer if came from a culture that didn’t support a diverse workforce.

It’s likely that this has to do with 2020 being a year of sweeping social justice movements. “There will be continued focus on DEI in 2021 – no change there,” predicts Tony Lee, VP of editorial at SHRM, who adds that companies will continue making efforts to look at candidates who are considered untapped talent. “People who may not have been considered before such as people with physical disabilities, criminal histories, those without a college degree,” says Lee. “Broadening the definition of what an effective successful candidate looks like can help make sure you’re more inclusive.”

It’s also good for business. According to the “Diversity Wins” Report by McKinsey, organizations in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile. For ethnic and cultural diversity, top-quartile companies were 36% more profitable.

TIP: In order to compete for top diverse talent, plan to amplify DEI efforts as part of your employer branding message and in job descriptions for 2021. That way, you can show candidates you’re committed to diversity and inclusion in hiring.

2. Remote work is here to stay

In case you were wondering if remote work was a passing pandemic fad, consider that the top keyword search from candidates on Monster over the last few months continues to be “work from home.” Plus, according to other Monster research, remote flexibility was the second biggest policy change reported by employers in 2020.

 The pandemic essentially forced many companies to do the unthinkable: manage a remote workforce. To a large extent, it was successful, proving that the work can still get done even without a physical office presence. In other words, even when things return to normal, there’s a good chance that many employees will prefer to remain off-site, at least some of the time.

Take working parents of school children, for example. When asked in a Monster survey what they think a company could do to best support parents with school children, 75% said work schedule flexibility would go a long way.

Of course, remote work can only apply to selected skill segments where people can work from home. Of four industries examined by SIA (Staffing Industry Analysts), IT and office/clerical showed a boom in remote work, whereas industrial and healthcare staffing firms did not.

The bigger implications of remote work on hiring is that companies can hire from anywhere, globalizing recruitment, says Jon Osborne, VP Strategic Research at SIA.  “In the world as it historically has been, our lives revolved around employment and because of that we were tied to the location of the employer – life may change a great deal as we are liberated from that locational anchor,” he says.

Then again, there are also some leaders who still feel productivity is “less” from remote workers versus those in office, says Herman. Hence why many companies that plan to return to the workplace sometime in 2021 are sticking with sourcing individuals who live close to physical offices.

But for the companies that are “all in” on remote, they can enjoy the ability to hire from any geo-location, adds Herman. “This has allowed them to hire quicker and in some cases, upgrade their talent.”

TIP: It’s important for hiring managers to learn how to interview remotely and look a little deeper into past history and past performance, says Lee. “Talk to people who have worked with them. Look at work samples.”

3. Upskilling will help companies—and staffing firms—fill hard-to-hire positions

Despite so many people out of work, 87% of employers say they are struggling to fill positions as a result of skills gaps, according to Monster data.

“Even though there are tens of millions unemployed, we still have a skills gap for a highly skilled workforce – that’s not going to go away,” says Bob Melk, chief commercial officer, Monster. “If employers are investing in establishing a dialogue with candidate pools, they will be in a much stronger position when they are ready to hire again.”

Staffing agencies have been leading the way in this arena, using training programs to reskill candidates who demonstrate leadership, teamwork and problem-solving skills into computer programmers, says Tim Robbins, VP of staffing and recruiting, Monster. “There’s an opportunity to upskill candidates, helping to change candidates’ lives with significant new career and growth opportunities,” he says.

Though upskilling has been commonplace in certain industries, 2021 may see it adopted in other fields. “Industries with talent shortages may recognize the value of upskilling,” says Lee. Big-name companies already have such plans in the works, including Amazon, which said publicly they were going to upskill 100,000 people in the next few years. “They have made the effort and investment to upskill for the job of the future,” says Lee.

Whether the onus is on the employer to train workers or on the workers themselves to maintain skills can vary by industry. However, a recent Monster survey shows that a third of candidates expect employers to step up versus just 19% of employers who said they should be responsible.

TIP: If you’re looking to fill the roles you have, you may have to look to an underskilled workforce to identify transferable talent. “We have seen staffing firms take candidates that were in the restaurant/hospitality industry with excellent customer service skills and repurpose them into other roles created by the pandemic, such as contact tracers and temperature checkers,” says Lenore Convery, director of enterprise staffing, Monster. She points to a need for recruiters and in-house talent acquisition professionals to become adept at identifying transferable skills. “The mortgage industry has exploded with opportunity due to the low interest rates, requiring talent that doesn’t have mortgage industry experience,” says Robbins. That’s one sector that could benefit from broadening qualifications to include candidates with crossover skills.

4. Candidates will continue to need assurance that workplaces are safe

As Monster data shows, 58% of Candidates feel their job search expectations have shifted during the pandemic, and projections for 2021 indicate further change ahead. Among their top priorities: safety.

“Employers are very concerned and conscientious about the importance of this issue,” says Herman. Some have added verbiage in their job descriptions along those lines, while others are spelling out their COVID-19 safety plans on their career sites, she adds.  Besides sanitation and social distancing protocols, many employers are giving employees an option to return when they feel safe or have a hybrid schedule.

“Companies understand how they handle this speaks volumes about their brand and employees and prospective candidates are watching how they handle this and expect them to take action,” says Herman.

The bottom line: With the pandemic still expected to rage on for at least the first quarter of 2021, you can expect that candidates will be concerned about how serious an employer takes workplace safety.  “This will be critically important,” says Lee. “Candidates won’t want to go into a physical workplace if the company is not taking safety seriously.”

TIP: Recruitment advertising efforts must talk about the ways in which the company values the health and safety of its workforce. This can include specifics regarding workplace safety practices including sanitizing, social distancing protocols, and more.

5. More companies will turn to gig workers

In a recent Monster poll, 92% of job seekers said they think now is a good time to look into the gig economy. On the employer side, with state and local lockdowns still on the table in some areas as we approach 2021, many industries are, in fact, hesitant to bring back staff or add to their workforce in a permanent way just yet.

“Uncertainty is indeed one of the drivers of non-permanent work, so the degree that uncertainty is an issue in 2021, it will contribute to higher usage rates,” says Osborne.

In fact, according to research by ProUnlimited, a contingent workforce management software and services firm, it’s expected that over half of skilled workers will be contingent by the end of 2021.

Jobs that fueled the initial gig wave are also morphing, says Danny Ashraf, director of sales, Monster.  For example, Uber shared that their rideshare business was down 75% in Q2 2020 and 53% in Q3 2020 YoY. “Since legacy rideshare drivers have had fewer passengers, they are looking to supplement their income by joining food delivery apps like UberEats or personal shopping/delivery programs like Shipt by Target,” says Ashraf.

Another sector to watch is events. “Everyone is hoping that 2021 will be different. Events will be more intimate in size, but temperature checkers and other new job types will be established for event staffing,” says Ashraf.

TIP: Gig workers consider salary, flexibility, and fair treatment when considering which companies they want to work with. For hiring teams looking to bring on freelancers, focus on those key elements.

If you would like a complimentary consultant please reach out today. We would love to post your job posting on our Women in Biz Network Diversity-Driven Career Board.