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Millennials or Gen Z: who's doing the most job-hopping

At CareerBuilder, it’s our goal to connect workers with their dream jobs, no matter the industry, experience level or location. But with all this recent talk of "The Great Resignation", we wondered just how long people stay in these roles now.

With the increase in working from home, thanks to changes in technology and less emphasis on office-based roles, it’s easier than ever to switch jobs, also known as "job-hopping". Nowadays, you don’t even have to move cities to start something new! We wanted to know how this change has affected the length of time people stay in their jobs.

Do younger generations move roles more often because of this new way of working?

We analyzed our resume data to find out how long each generation stays in their jobs, as well as how long residents of different areas and workers in different industries stick to a role. With this information, we can see how attitudes toward work have changed over time, and can discover the places and industries where jobs last the longest to help younger workers find their next job.

Average time each generation spends in a job.

The average length of time spent in a job by generation

Generational differences can get heated, from clothing choices to how "easy" some might have it - and there's hardly ever agreement. But there’s one thing we can answer once and for all, and that’s which generation stays in their job the longest.

As each generation enters the workforce, attitudes about work style have evolved, often affected by current events or political hifts. But what exactly are these differences, and how do they affect the length each generation stays in a job?

4 generations of workers and their work personalities in one graphic.

Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers, born between the years of 1946 and 1964, tend to stay in a job for an average of 8 years and 3 months, placing this generation firmly at the top of the list of average length spent in jobs. But why is this number so high?

There are various important events that took place in the years this generation grew up that may have affected their attitude to work. These include:

• The World Wars ending, leading to an unparalleled sense of optimism and prosperity.

• Putting the first man on the moon, creating a national confidence.

• The Civil Rights Movement, changing the way society was viewed.

Boomers experienced prosperity and optimism like no generation before them, fueling the economy. Once they had a job that paid well and allowed them to live comfortably, they just didn’t feel the need to leave. Can you blame them?

Gen X

If you were born between 1965 and 1980, you’re part of Gen X. Seeing a sharp decline already in the length of time spent in a job, workers from this generation will spend about 5.2 years in a job before moving on.

Some of the cultural events that have impacted Gen X’s attitude to work are:

• Receiving the highest level of education in the U.S. of any previous generation.

• The fall of the Berlin wall, symbolizing freedom and victory.

• The rise of MTV, which completely changed the music industry and pop culture.

Gen X will spend an average of 36 months less than Baby Boomers in a job role. Why? Well, there could be a few reasons. The emphasis on freedom among U.S. workers may have empowered many to leave their jobs if they weren’t enjoying it. The creation of MTV would also have affected many jobs in the music industry that were no longer needed - we all know that video killed the radio star. Think that’s bad? Wait ‘til you see what Millennials had to deal with.


Also known as Gen Y, the Millennial generation includes anyone born from 1982 to 1996. With about 72 million Millennials in the U.S, this generation is a huge part of the working population. Despite this, Millennial workers stay in a job for an average of 2 years and 9 months, showing a shockingly large decline in employee retention rate when compared to their older counterparts.

Why has this number dropped so sharply? When you look into the cultural and political backdrop of this generation, the answer becomes pretty clear:

• The Great Recession, from December 2007 to June 2009, impacting wages and cost of living for years.

• Unprecedented college costs and student loan debt.

• Advancements in technology leading to a more widespread acceptance of working from home and flexible working.

Millennials had many catalysts for switching jobs quicker than the generations above them - and the growing popularity of remote working allowed them to do this much easier than previous generations. Even now, it’s no different. In the wake of the pandemic and months of uncertainty, high workloads and hiring freezes, Millennials are rethinking their work-life balances and taking advantage of the fact that they are in demand as mid-level employees. Cue: loads of Millennials leaving their jobs in hopes of something better.

Gen Z

Since Gen Z was born between 1997 and 2012, the oldest of the group have only recently entered the workforce. Because of this, the average time spent in a job is bound to be less than the generations above them - many haven’t even had the chance to be in a job for more than 3 years yet! However, Gen Z’s average length in a job (so far) is 2 years and 3 months - only 6 months less than Millennials.

Gen Z have very different attitudes than their older colleagues, including:

• More cautious when it comes to professional expectations, after seeing the fallout from the recession and widespread job losses.

• More of an emphasis on equal treatment and not accepting less than this in work.

• Less experience with jobs, since many Gen Z-ers didn’t or don’t have jobs in high school or start earning money until later in life.

The mentality of flexible working and reflecting on personal happiness carries on in Gen Z, perhaps explaining why they don’t stay in jobs for a very long time. However, Gen Z is much more cautious with risk-taking. As a result, these young workers may not want to make a snap decision to leave a role as they are not sure what could be available for them after. This risk-averse attitude perhaps explains why the difference between the length of Gen Z and Millennials’ average job is so small.

For the Gen Z-ers out there, there are a couple of ways you can future-proof your job choices if you want to take as few risks as possible:

• Learn a trade.

• Get a great college education.

Jobs that require minimal to no training have disappeared over the years, and this isn’t going to stop. To make sure you find a job that you will be able to keep for a long time (maybe even as long as the Boomers, who knows), you need either specific skills or an education to land you a great role.

New collar jobs
If the traditional college education isn’t for you, then a ‘new collar’ job could be a great choice to make sure you still end up in a long-lasting and competitive job role. Employers for these roles are more focused on a candidate’s skill set instead of a four-year college degree, and digital technology is one of the industries that values these "new collar" workers.

Engineering and software industries are also always on the lookout for talented, technically savvy applicants, so if any of these are your dream industry, then it pays to be on the lookout for nontraditional educational paths to give you the knowledge required.

The industries that are booming at the moment are healthcare and technology, so a job involving either of these is a safe bet if you’re up for it. However, there are a few other industries that also offer really long-lasting jobs if healthcare and technology aren’t for you.

The industries with the longest time spent in roles

For young workers wanting to decide which industry might offer them the most long-lasting role, or anyone else who wants a change of industry that will last, we recommend the industries which keep their employees in their jobs for the longest period of time.

Software Developers stay in their roles the longest
If you are after a long term role in the tech industry, then being a software developer is a great option. Employees in this field tend to stay in their jobs for an average of 11 years and 1.5 months. If you have experience in this background and are ready to move onto your next big career step, this industry offers countless amazing opportunities that won’t end anytime soon.
Want a go at this career? See our list of software developer jobs

Truck Drivers
Looking for a career that will keep you busy for an average of 8 years and 7 months? You’re in luck. Truck drivers tend to stay in this role for exactly this amount of time, so this is an excellent choice of career if you want to plan ahead, and also love driving - that’s pretty key.
Browse our truck driver jobs now

Website Managers
Another long term tech role, website managers stay in their jobs for an average of 8 years and 4.5 months. Every business uses a website now, and every website needs someone to make sure it’s up and running all day, every day - so there’s never a shortage of website manager roles. If this is up your alley, it’s a great career to have.
Find website manager roles on CareerBuilder

Building Superintendents
If a hands-on role is more your thing, building superintendents have a great track record for longevity in a role. With people remaining in this job for 8 years, this is a great career for people with excellent management skills, planning abilities, and willingness to get involved.
See what building superintendent roles are currently available

The industries with the least time spent in the role

Not all jobs require this much time commitment - and spending less time in a role can be extremely convenient for some. Many Gen Z-ers may need summer jobs, or want a less time-consuming role to earn some money for college. Millennials may want to leave their longer-term jobs after evaluating what’s important to them, and deciding they no longer want to work 90 hours a week. So, if you are after a job that meets this criteria, check out this list of industries.

Crew jobs
Another role that does not require too much of a time commitment from those who do it is working a crew job, as what is commonly known as a "crewman". This would consist of working on a train, plane or boat as a crew member. On average, people will spend 10 months in this role, making it ideal for when you need to fill a stopgap in your professional life before moving onto something else.
Browse crew roles across the country today

Youth worker and counselor jobs
While being a youth worker or counselor is an extremely worthy role, people do not tend to stay in it for any significant length of time. The average number of months spent in the role is 12, making it one of the jobs with the least amount of time spent in the role. It’s perfect for if you want to make a difference, but only have limited time to do so.
Find youth worker and counselor opportunities now

Fieldwork jobs
Tying with youth work, a job in fieldwork will mean an average of 12 months committed to the role. Including roles such as field technician, field inspector, field service technician and field engineer, here are plenty of options in this industry. If you want to get out there and really get your hands dirty, this field (pun intended) may be ideal for you.
See what fieldwork is available now

Quality control jobs
If you only have a year to dedicate to a role for any reason, then working in quality control may be a perfect fit. This role can take place in one location, like a warehouse, or could mean travelling around to different venues to make sure the quality is consistent across an entire company. With most leaving related roles after an average of 12 months, this is a great job to fill the time while you have it, without being too daunting a commitment.
See what quality control roles are available right now

U.S. map showing ten cities with the longest job tenure

The average time in a job by city

The final piece of the puzzle is to find out which areas in the U.S. keep their employees around for the longest. While some young people might enjoy moving around freely when it comes to jobs, Gen Z's cautiousness might mean we see an increase in the length of time they spend in jobs as their careers progress. By looking at the places with the longest employee retention rates, we can learn what these cities or towns have that make their residents stick around for a long time, hopefully helping the Gen Z workers of the future find longer-lasting roles.

Interestingly, the areas that keep employees around for the longest are all small cities or towns. With low population numbers and often less built-up surroundings, the residents of these areas evidently have a lot of loyalty considering how long people stay in jobs on average. The towns and cities that top the list in terms of job tenure are LaGrange, OH, Norwood Young America, MN and Herculaneum, MO. The combined population of the three is only 10,563, and people living in them spend around 11 years in a job.

These smaller towns and cities often give workers a more relaxed, slow moving and balanced work life since they are away from the hustle and bustle of the big cities. Since Millennials and Gen Z value work-life balance more, the lifestyle in less populated areas could become much more sought-after than the current popular route of moving to the big city to live out your dreams - which often leads to being overwhelmed and stressed, and leaving the job after a short amount of time.

Using internal data, the length of time spent in a job by state, area and job type was collected, and this was further broken down by demographic. For location based data, the 'by area’ data set was used for both smaller area and state calculations. This was done to ensure consistency by using one data set and because the 'by area’ table had the highest total user count making it more accurate.

CareerBuilder has an ever changing list of new jobs in all industries and parts of the country, with options perfect for any age or profession. Whether you are looking for a long-lasting career to take you through to retirement, or just want to try different roles before you commit, we can help you find your next job, fast.

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