Business LeadershipElite Agent

The Long-Service Myth

How can principals attract and retain good staff at a time when average job tenure in the modern workforce is under four years? What do employees look for in a real estate agency, and what makes them move on? Alison McGavin examines the stats.

Long-service leave is practically a myth in today’s jobs market, where the common trend amongst Australian workers is to change jobs instead.

I am constantly faced with questions and statements by prospective employers, such as ‘Why have they moved around so much?’ or ‘Their CV is too jumpy’. As a collective, I think it’s important that we all understand what is actually happening in the market today and let the facts and stats guide our thinking. We could be putting ourselves in a position where we miss out on a fantastic candidate just because we think that they haven’t shown longevity in their roles.

Recent research shows that the average Australian will have 17 different jobs between 18 and retirement.

That’s a lot of training! Interestingly, most people also change career paths or industries an average of five times.
Today the national average tenure in a job is three years and four months. That’s nearly three jobs per decade.
A common misrepresentation is that it’s today’s millennials to blame, when in fact young people have always been more prone to job movement than their older counterparts. It turns out that four decades ago the average tenure of under-25s per job was one year and eight months, which is the same as today according to stats from the Department of Employment.

Job tenure starts to grow with the age groups thereafter; two years eight months for 25 to 35 year olds, four years for 35 to 44 year olds, while people of 45+ stay in their positions for an average of six years and eight months.

The top reason cited for job change was a desire for further career progression. The next most cited reason was an interest in expanding skills. As I’ve mentioned previously, these reasons suggest that employers and department leaders can increase employee satisfaction by creating more opportunities for development and job satisfaction.

Surprisingly, only 38 per cent of workers cited as their reason for a move a desire for more money.
By becoming aware of the statistics, as well as the reasons people move, it allows us to develop more effective strategies in staff retention. We know from the above that to hold on to top performers we need to be focused on fair compensation, providing career progression as well as opportunity.

Our workforce is more empowered today than ever. Progression and opportunity is now the number one quality candidates look for, as opposed to the old-school job security. Flexible working arrangements and the chance to progress within a company are more important than stability and loyalty.

This means that we will have to use a lot more than salary and age-old benefits such as long-service leave to attract and retain our teams.

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Alison McGavin

Alison McGavin is a Senior Recruitment Consultant with Real+, for more information visit