Job stability figures buck the common perception

Job stability has increased
over the past decade according to surprising new research by the International
Labour Organisation.

The ILO’s World Employment
Report 2001, found that the average length of job tenure has risen during the
past decade, contradicting the perception that labour markets are becoming
increasingly fluid.

Between 1992 and 1998 the
average tenure for jobs in the selection of European countries surveyed
increased from 10.2 years to 10.5 years.

The report states, "The
theory that labour markets in the digital era are undergoing profound
transformation has some basis in truth. For most people in work, however, there
continues to be a surprisingly high degree of employment stability. In 12 out
of 16 OECD countries’ labour markets examined in this report, job tenure – a
measure of employment stability ñ has either remained unchanged during the last
decade of the 1990s or has in fact increased.

"Even looking more closely
at some of the occupations most associated with the new economy, such as
telecommunications workers or those in the distribution sector, job tenure has
remained largely unchanged."

The report shows that policy
makers, senior managers and those working in public administration had the
longest period of job tenure with lower skilled white-collar professions
staying in jobs for the shortest amount of time.

It concludes, "The popular
view that most employment relationships are of a temporary nature and
longer-term employment relationships between companies and their workers is a
thing of the past cannot be confirmed.

"Our results do not point
to a broken bond between workers and their firms. Rather, they suggest
segmented labour markets in which the core is still the dominant form of
employment while the periphery, which has grown, constitutes a marginal form of

Ben Willmott

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