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Blog>Trends>Long-Term Employee Retention in the Wake of Inflation and The Great Resignation

Long-Term Employee Retention in the Wake of Inflation and The Great Resignation

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Key Points

  • 1 in 4 bosses personally begged their tenured employees to stay upon receiving their resignation.

  • On average, long-term employees said they would leave their jobs for a salary increase of 52%.

  • More than half of long-term employees stayed at their current job because their boss gave them more money.


When first entering the workforce, some are lucky enough to find their dream job right away, but many others must go through trials and tribulations to discover their perfect match. At the end of the day, whatever industry you’re in and whichever position you hold, we all want the same thing — a job that gives us a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment.

Once we strike gold and find that job, it might be one we naturally want to hold on to for a long, long time. When you stick around somewhere for long enough, it’s often not just because you like what you do, it’s also because you’re great at what you do. Managers recognize the benefits of keeping seasoned workers around, and said workers tend to reap the rewards of their loyalty. We’ve surveyed over 1,000 full-time, long-term employees to learn more about their motivations for staying, rationale for leaving, and some strategies that managers use to make sure employees don’t consider the latter. Read on to find out more!

Stay a While

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who stuck around at a job that didn’t make them feel valued. That’s why management must make an effort to instill a people-first culture within their organizations. Below are some of the top priorities that companies must act on to make their employees feel right at home.

Infographic on aspects influencing tenured employees to remain at their current job

According to our surveyees, the top reason for job satisfaction was attributed to enjoying a great work-life balance. In this day and age, prioritizing more time for our personal life has never been more important — achieving a prosperous balance can lead to heightened productivity and engagement in the office, as well as greater employee loyalty and motivation. Two other factors that were the most influential for full-time employees to stay put were a heightened sense of job security and simply enjoying the work that they do. Naturally, it brings people a considerable amount of peace of mind when they know they’ll be employed for the foreseeable future, making job security a highly sought work perk. And work enjoyment is, well, pretty self-explanatory — people need to enjoy what they do to have any true motivation to perform. A solid relationship with a boss, an attractive vacation policy, health care coverage, and a high salary were also likely to convince employees to keep their current job for the foreseeable future.

According to our respondents, women were more likely than men to stay at their current job due to a favorable work-life balance. Historically, women have been responsible for the majority of at-home responsibilities — therefore, the fact they prioritize this balance more than men comes as no surprise.

As Time Goes On

We know the motivations that entice people to stick it out for the long-haul at a given company, but now we’ll see how satisfied they are based on their length of tenure. Employees were asked to assess their level of happiness among different job-related aspects, such as job security, mental health, and productivity. We dissected these responses and then took a closer look at the perceived pros and cons of being a tenured employee.

Infographic on pros and cons of being a tenured employees

Of employees reporting “excellent” or “good” satisfaction in regard to facets of work, 85% thought that 3 to 4 years of job tenure was the sweet spot for high overall job satisfaction. Regarding job security, mental health, and productivity, though, the longer the tenure the better — employees with 5 years of tenure or longer were most likely to be very satisfied with these three factors. Newer employees, classified as those working at their current job for two years or less, were the least satisfied across the board.

With job security being an attractive work perk, we can see why it’s highlighted as the highest ranked benefit by respondents. Job security makes employees feel valued, subsequently lessening their stress and anxiety levels. With a clearer mind comes better work production and organizational success, leaving both employees and their company finding themselves in a great spot. Other attractive benefits include higher earning opportunities and increased schedule flexibility.

On the other hand, staying in one place for too long might be detrimental to some employees. For example, the drama that comes with workplace politics can rub people the wrong way after a while, prompting them to search for a change of scenery. Outgrowing your company’s vision or mission and generally losing inspiration were also common reasons why the benefits of being a tenured employee might have an expiration date for some.

Parting Ways

We know that being a long-term employee most certainly has its benefits, but sometimes, it’s just time to move on. Who’s the most likely to start a new chapter somewhere else, and what are the primary reasons that these workers have decided to leave in the first place?

Infographic on tenured employees considering leaving

Right off the bat, 41% of respondents who had been at their job for 5 years or longer said they were considering working elsewhere. Another interesting fact that we uncovered was that 57% of employees said their companies had been losing long-tenured employees at much higher rates during the Great Resignation than ever before. For reference, the Great Resignation is a record-breaking time in history in which millions of Americans are quitting their jobs, primarily in search of a better work-life balance due to the uncertainty and stress of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of those who were thinking of searching for new employment, 45% were men compared to 36% of women, and Gen Zers were, by far, the most likely to consider starting fresh somewhere else. In the case of our surveyees, the search for a better salary was the most popular reason to do so. From a generational standpoint, it was younger people (Gen Zers and millennials) who were most motivated by higher pay. With surging inflation rates across the United States, younger generations must be more financially motivated than ever to build a strong foundation and eventual future for themselves. Money isn’t everything, but it is particularly imperative for America’s youth. Moreover, long-tenured employees would be happy to pursue a different job if, in doing so, their salary were to increase by an average of 52%. About a third were also on the lookout for a better work culture, health care plan, and boss. Working in a place where they felt appreciated was important to many, too.

Infographic on what employers have done to retain tenured employees this past year

To keep long-tenured employees around even longer, employers must naturally incentivize them. The most common tactic used was to offer them a raise. Clearly, money talks, and employees tend to listen when a salary increase is on the line. In fact, more than half of long-tenured workers had stayed at their current company because they were offered more money. If it wasn’t an outright salary raise, 44% of employers brought the idea of bonuses into the mix.

Sometimes, though, there are no incentives in the world that would convince an employee to stay. Once all offers had been presented to no avail, a quarter of managers resorted to begging the worker in question to stay. Gen Zers and millennials were the most likely to admit their boss had succumbed to this last resort.

Expectation vs. Reality

The next section demonstrates what each generation thinks the length of employment must be before being considered a tenured employee. Furthermore, respondents were asked to share how long they’d expected to be at their current job versus what actually ended up being the case.

Infographic on tenured employee expectations working at a company

Overall, the general consensus was that an employee would need to hit the 5 to 6 year mark before achieving tenured status. Interestingly, as the age ranges grew, the belief among the older generations did as well. For example, Gen Zers were most likely to think an employee was tenured after 3 to 4 years at a company, millennials and Gen Xers were more on board with the 5 to 6 year range, and baby boomers felt most strongly about becoming tenured after 7 years or more.

Overall, 81% of long-tenured employees had stayed at their companies longer than they initially thought they would. This was especially true for people who worked the same job for 7 years or more. On the other hand, many employees who expected to hold the same job for 2 years or less didn’t end up hitting that milestone.

Your Dream Job Awaits

What makes a good job situation great? According to long-tenured employees, a comfortable work-life balance was the leading reason why they pledged their loyalty to whichever company they worked at. Job security and simply enjoying what they do were major factors as well.

The most common reason to leave, though, was in search of a higher salary. Again, with the cost of living surging across the country, people’s priorities must shift to accommodate their financial well-being now more than ever.

In an effort to keep their employees around, employers often offered their long-tenured subordinates a raise or a bonus in some form. But if that didn’t work, some were ready to beg.

The reality is employers want to hire people that will flourish at their company, and workers want to find a job they love — however long that may take. With Joblist, finding the career of your dreams may be easier than you think. If you’re just entering the workforce or looking to find your next great job opportunity, Joblist’s platform helps you find your perfect match. Head over now to learn more about what could be in store for you.

Mentioned In This Article

Methodology and Limitations

We surveyed 1,001 full-time employees. Among respondents, 53% were men, and 47% were women. For generational breakdowns, the sample sizes were as follows:

  • Gen Z: 213

  • Millennials: 308

  • Gen X: 272

  • Baby boomers: 208

Among respondents, 162 had 2 years or less tenure in their current company, 255 had 3 to 4 years, and 584 had 5 or more years.

For short, open-ended questions, outliers were removed.

To help ensure that all respondents took our survey seriously, they were required to identify and correctly answer an attention-check question. Survey data have certain limitations related to self-reporting.

Fair Use Statement

Know any long-tenured employees who are interested in learning more about others in a similar position? Feel free to share this article with them. We just ask that you do so for noncommercial use only and to provide a link back to this page so the contributors can earn credit for their work.

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