Job Tenure in Britain, 1975-2000. Is a Job for Life or Just for Christmas?

24 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2002

See all articles by Paul Gregg

Paul Gregg

University of Bath - Department of Social and Policy Sciences

Jonathan Wadsworth

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; William Davidson Institute; Royal Holloway College University of London

Abstract

We use household survey evidence to assess whether job tenure has changed in Britain over the last twenty years and, if so, which individuals are affected and what are the possible causes. After first reconciling apparently conflicting evidence from two separate data sources, we show that small falls in job tenture measures at the aggregate level disguise more obvious changes across age and gender. For nearly three quarters of the workforce, men and women without dependent children, job tenure has fallen over the past twenty-five years. Job tenure has risen only amongst women with dependent children, driven, we believe, by the increasing propensity of women to return to the same employer after child birth. Allowing for the cycle, the results suggest that there has been only a modest increase in short-term employment spells, but more dramatic falls are observed among long-term jobs. The decline in long-term jobs is most pronounced for older workers. The changing nature of jobs on offer, specifically the movement from full-time to higher turnover part-time, temporary jobs or self-employment and the changing industrial composition of the workforce can explain around one quarter of these trends. These developments do not appear to be influenced by the level of educational attainment.

Suggested Citation

Gregg, Paul and Wadsworth, Jonathan, Job Tenure in Britain, 1975-2000. Is a Job for Life or Just for Christmas?. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=313704

Paul Gregg (Contact Author)

University of Bath - Department of Social and Policy Sciences ( email )

Claverton Down
Bath, BA7 2AY
United Kingdom

Jonathan Wadsworth

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
England

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

William Davidson Institute

724 E. University Ave.
Wyly Hall
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1234
United States

Royal Holloway College University of London

Senate House
Malet Street
London, TW20 0EX
United Kingdom

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