Average employee Tenure in Tech

I was hearing the average employee tenure is about 3.8 years in the tech industry.

(How to Perform Better Than the Average Attrition Rate for Tech)

Do you find that this is true?

I am also looking Bureau of Labor Statistics.

I’m not shocked. It varies a lot by company and location. Part of what you need to remember is that this include a lot of startups that tend to be ephemeral and drag the average down. Not all tech is cyclical.

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One factor is that it’s easier to get a pay hike by switching jobs than to work for a promotion.

The median tenure at Google used to be 1.1 years.


In the ad agency world the tech side is still about 2 years average. Its pretty much the only way to get a decent raise when you aren’t one of the account team or the art directors.

That article is so typical of the press this gets… “We tried everything (except actually paying them market rate), and nothing worked! I guess we just need to embrace turnover”

From the article: building what I thought was a great culture. Beer on tap, dogs in the office, unlimited paid time off and, ultimately, an employee stock ownership plan, where I gave 40% of the company to the employees

Beer on tap - we had this at my office, no one uses it because we all commute long distances.
Dogs in the office - we had this in my office, people brought dogs for like a week and then realized its colossally annoying to have other peoples dogs around and everyone just stopped doing it.
Unlimited time off - never had this, but know people who did/do, and you really can’t take the time because they never stop dumping work on you. With no workers rights and nothing to stop them from canning you for not finishing work they dump on you this is a fake benefit.
Equity in the company - Sounds good, but can you cash it out? If the dude gave 40% to the employees and they still left then its likely that the 40% was either valueless due to company debt or inaccessible due to the terms of the ownership. The one company that gave me equity I stayed at for 10 years, and would go back to in a heartbeat.

Companies that pay their people what they are worth for the work they produce don’t have turnover issues.


As a person that worked in IT and cyber for the last 23 years - this is absolutely true.

The main reason for the turnover are usually 2 main factors:
Management changes and pay.

Management changes: Where every 2-3 years the entire senior management changes then when your manager changes and you don’t get along with the new manager - you quit.

Pay: The typical IT pay raise is around 3.5% a year if you dont get promoted and 10% if you do get promoted. If you leave the job to another company - your pay goes up 25% (on average).


I’m retired now but in my experience a few years back is that at least larger companies manage by spreadsheet. In the workbook/constraints you are given to use it will often have non-competitive compensation adjustments for current employee’s and there’s nothing you can do about it as a manager.


Exactly, and with the Dallas local inflation rate being 5.2% according to the BLS the raises don’t even keep up.

Side note, I actually experienced the opposite on the management changes at my last job. I had a terrible boss for a couple years, was looking then they shuffled things and put me under two great managers, that kept me around several years longer.

I’m currently looking at new roles and the starting range for positions in my field is 30K more than I was making…

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I think this is what is driving a lot of the return to office as well… Spread sheet says we are losing money on real estate, better make people use it. No one with a real estate spreadsheet is looking at what its doing to the HR spreadsheets, or recruiting spread sheets, or training spread sheets or P/L spread sheets…

If only there were an AI that could ethically take all of that into account and run the company more efficiently and ethically! :wink:

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Be careful what you wish for. These things have a way of becoming half true, and it’s never the better half.


Bucking trends here technically. I’ve been in the same role since 2017, the same employer¹ since 2004, and we’ve been calling ourselves a ‘tech company’ internally for more than 4 years.
¹ In reality business unit as we were sold to another company in 2016

And beyond pay the idea of changing management behavior - and resulting loathed policies - was almost certainly never on the table.

A variety of tax incentives were rolled out a year ago, also altering the calculus.

But it’s fkn dumb from a health of the company perspective. It makes sense for senior management whose productivity is largely defined by collaboration - meetings - formal and informal - phone calls, unstructured conversations with different parts of the business. But for the exponentially greater number of ‘desk job’ employees in a corporation the overwhelming bulk of their tasks involve focus, which is best done in a degree of isolation with occasional collaboration.

But companies want innovation! Wild spontaneous cross-organizational whiteboarding sessions that produce a stream of billion-dollar ideas … when the facts-on-the-ground culture and structure of so many companies actively discourage such things. And outside of startups burning seed capital there’s so operational sh_t that absolutely has to be done.

And as a delightful part of RTO and hybrid work, so many companies are doing their best bad takes on ~20 year old photos of ‘tech company’ offices and going all-in on open-office hellscapes with the acoustics of a concrete room that no one - other than senior management - wants to work in.


Yup, been several places that wanted a ‘startup culture’ absent any of the incentives and with all of the legacy burden that startups ignore. Even worse was my last corporate job where business cases that weren’t in new product lines were burdened with strict and very pessimistic profit estimates but the new thing was pretty much exempted from any meaningful analysis. The result was the legacy product line was sold off, and the buyer made more from that product line than than the company that sold it for a pittance did over the life of it’s ownership.

Except that senior management almost universally exempts themselves.

Again last job - the acoustic environment was so bad that they started pumping in white (not pink!) noise over the PA system. Our absenteeism rate went up by a factor of 10 in the first month. Two months later our health insurance provider launched an investigation into to sudden increase in the migraine treatment claim rate - fearing chemical exposure. People were relived when the layoff happened in spite of the poor job market at the time (2009.)

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I’ve been around much of the opposite: a lot of sentiment and even initiatives around the 3 usual business cases - more revenue, less cost, time savings - but no will to make them actually happen because the legacy/BAU stuff is where the incentives lie. And there’s a powerful implication that addressing cost/time issues means putting yourself out a job.

Oddly enough present employer’s C-Suite sort of lives like the little people in that they don’t have offices and work on the same hotseating floor as everyone else. But they do have much nicer assigned desks. And dedicated conference rooms. And C-suite adjacent senior managers have implicitly reserved desks.

Took me a while to discern it from the HVAC but they’ve started that at the new office - most prominently in the water closets. Probably why it’s inexplicably tiring to be on the floor for more than an hour at a time.

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Thank you. All i am not looking to be disenchanted by my unemployment market. It seems that we all want to work and profit from our work. I am firmware guy and solder tech. I just trying to grasp with job market volatility, and stay focused on seek employment as this is life. I am glad to know that many people have lot of experience and are seeking to work and prosper. I find nothing good is ever easy.

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What’s the definition of “the tech industry”?

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Wikipedia has a definition. While this general definition includes the likes of FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google) and other internet companies in popular usage - primarily facing the public via websites/phone apps - it has generally excluded the ISPs that operate the infrastructure of the internet itself.

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So a technical design engineer working in, for example, aerospace, would not be considered a tech worker, right?

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Per popular usage in the financial press and job market, aerospace isn’t a ‘tech company’ so no.


I am considering programmer and production level electronic solders and assemblers to be the same. So various board houses… soldering, pick and place machines, touch up, AOI. From what i have seen there are people that don’t last the year or even a given month not because of ability but because of thing in the job other than assembly or worse beyond their control. You can lose a contract at board house because bad design. A contract can be lost because of lack of customers from your contracted customer.

My three last tech jobs, most recent first, have been 5.5, 6 and 14 years. I tend to stay if I’m comfortable and being treated well. I don’t chase potential small raises.

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Does anyone have to deal with 6s or 5s?


That being said i agree jobs have it pro and it cons.