Low-Income and Low-Skilled Workers Involvement in Nonstandard Employment. Job Tenure

10/01/2001

Evidence indicates that, with the exception of independent contractors, job tenure in alternative work arrangements is shorter than in traditional arrangements. The median tenure (in the arrangement) for independent contractors was 7.7 years, according to 1997 CPS data, while traditional arrangements had a median tenure of 4.8 years. Temporary help agency workers had the shortest tenure with six months, and on-call workers and contract workers both had a median tenure of 2.1 years in 1997.(32) This is reinforced by Segal and Sullivan's (1997a) research, which finds that temporary employment spells are dramatically shorter than permanent spells. Their estimates lead them to conclude that 32 percent of temporary employment spells for one employer last for only one quarter (compared to 11 percent of permanent spells), 78 percent last four quarters or fewer (compared to 35 percent of permanent spells), and the average is about two quarters.