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Job tenure: June 2016 quarter

In the June 2016 quarter of the Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS), we collected information on job tenure in a person’s main job for the first time. This article gives customers an overview of job tenure information by some key variables.

Job tenure measures the length of time a person has been working for their employer in their main job, or in their business if they were self-employed. This information was previously collected in the Survey of Working Life in 2008 and 2012. Job tenure will be available from the HLFS on a quarterly basis.

In the June 2016 quarter, 74.0 percent of all employed people had been in their main job for 1 year or longer. Only 3.1 percent had been in their main job for less than one month. Median job tenure for all employed people was 4 years.

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Men have longer job tenure

Men were more likely to have longer job tenure than women. As figure 1 shows, the largest difference between men and women was for the ‘10 years or more’ category – 28.2 percent of employed men were in this category compared with 24.5 percent of employed women. Median job tenure for men was 4 years and for women it was 3.5 years.

Figure 1

Graph, Job tenure in main job by sex, June 2016 quarter.

Job tenure increases with age

As expected, median job tenure increases as age increases. For the younger and older age groups there is no difference by age for men and women’s job tenure. Median tenure for women in the age groups between 25 and 64 years was six months to one year less than that for men in the same age group.

Figure 2

Graph, Median job tenure in main job by age group and sex, June 2016 quarter.

Employers have longest job tenure

People who were employers in their main job had the longest median tenure (10 years). This group was followed by the ‘self-employed and without employees’ group (7 years), then unpaid family workers (5 years), and lastly paid employees (3 years).

Figure 3 looks at the proportion of employed people who were in their main job for less than 6 months, and for 10 years or more (10+), by their employment status. For paid employees, a larger proportion had been in their main job for less than 6 months and a smaller proportion for 10+ years than for other employment status groups. Just over one-fifth of paid employees had been in their main job for 10+ years, compared with just over half of all employers.

Figure 3

Graph, Selected job tenure by status in employment, June 2016 quarter.

Median job tenure within the paid employees group varied depending on the employment relationship they held. One-third of temporary employees had been in their main job for less than 6 months; they had a median job tenure of 1 year. In comparison, only 10 percent of permanent employees had been in their main job for less than 6 months; they had a median job tenure of 4 years.

As types of temporary employment are not mutually exclusive, we assign people with multiple responses to the temporary employee questions to a single group, based on a priority order.

Within the temporary employees group, people classified as ‘temporary agency employees’ had the shortest median job tenure (3.5 months). Both ‘casual employees’ and ‘fixed-term employees’ had median tenure of 11 months, while temporary employees classified as ‘seasonal employees’ had the longest median tenure (2 years). The majority of seasonal employees are those classified as ‘permanent seasonal’. This means they identified as having a permanent arrangement in a job that is seasonal.

Job tenure by ethnicity

Of the four main ethnic groups looked at (European, Māori, Pacific people, and Asian), median job tenure was longest for the European ethnic group (4 years) and shortest for the Asian ethnic group (2.5 years). Both Māori and Pacific people had median job tenure of 3 years. The European ethnic group had the largest proportion with job tenure of 10+ years (29.1 percent) for employed people, and the lowest proportion with job tenure of less than 6 months (10.5 percent).

Figure 4

Graph, Selected job tenure by ethnic group, June 2016 quarter.

Job tenure by industry

Those employed in the agriculture, forestry, and fishing industry group had the longest median tenure (6 years). This industry group had the highest proportion of employers (16.4 percent) and the highest proportion employed for 10+ years (38.3 percent).

People employed in the retail trade, and accommodation and food services industry had the shortest median job tenure (2 years); 16.6 percent of people employed in this industry had job tenure of less than 6 months.

Table 1
Selected job tenure groups and median job tenure by industry of main job

Industry of main job

 Tenure

 

 Less than 6 months

10+ years

Median

 Percent

 Years

 Agriculture, forestry, & fishing

7.7

38.3

6.0

 Mining

S

29.8

4.5

 Manufacturing

 8.8

 30.6

 5.0

 Electricity, gas, water, & waste services

 8.4

25.2

 4.0

 Construction

 11.6

 25.3

 3.5

 Wholesale trade

 9.3

 29.0

 4.0

 Retail trade, and accommodation & food services

 16.6

 13.5

 2.0

 Transport, postal & warehousing

 10.2

 28.1

 4.5

 Information media & telecommunications

 10.1

 29.0

 4.0

 Financial & insurance services

 8.3

 29.6

 5.0

 Rental, hiring & real estate services

 10.1

 29.4

 4.0

 Professional, scientific, technical, administrative & support service

 13.4

 24.1

 3.0

 Public administration & safety

 6.6

 32.4

 5.0

 Education & training

 10.8

 29.1

 5.0

 Health care & social assistance

 10.2

 26.9

 4.0

 Arts, recreation, & other services

 12.5

 27.7

 4.0

 Symbol: S suppressed. Estimate used to calculate percentage is less than 1,000.
 Source: Statistics NZ

Job tenure by occupation

Job tenure measures the length of time a person has worked for their employer in their main job (or in their business if self-employed). Therefore the person’s occupation in their main job at the time of their interview may not be the occupation they had for the duration of their job tenure.

By occupation, people employed as managers in their main job had the longest median job tenure (6 years). Over one-third of managers had worked in their main job for 10+ years and over half (56.6 percent) for 5 years or more.

Sales workers and labourers had the shortest median job tenure (2 years). Just under one-fifth of labourers had been in their main job for less than 6 months.

Table 2
Selected job tenure groups and median job tenure by occupation of main job

 Occupation of main job

 Tenure

 

 Less than 6 months

10+ years

Median

 Percent

 Years

 Managers

6.0

36.3

6.0

 Professionals

10.1

27.6

4.0

 Technicians & trades workers

 10.3

25.2

4.0

 Community & personal service workers

 15.6

20.2

3.0

 Clerical & administrative workers

 9.5

30.1

4.5

 Sales workers

 14.1

17.2

2.0

 Machinery operators & drivers

 11.6

25.0

3.5

 Labourers

 19.9

17.4

2.0

ISBN 978-0-908350-64-3
Published 14 September 2016

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