How long workers in South Africa stay in their jobs – based on their age

Hiring specialist Career Junction says that most South African employees tend not to stay in jobs for more than three years.

The latest Career Junction Employment Insights for May provides an analysis of the supply and demand trends in the online job market to represent online labour dynamics in South Africa.

The report shows that recruitment activity over the past 13 months reflects a strong hiring trend, up by 32% between April 2021 and April 2022.

Despite this, in an ever-evolving employment landscape, retaining employees can be challenging, said Career Junction.

“In South Africa, candidates stay about 2 years and 10 months in the same job before moving on,” it said.

Career Junction noted that employees who have been in the same job for more than three years are considered above the norm.

Listed below are the average years spent in one position across selected professions according to Career Junction:

Job description Time (in years and months)
Teacher assistance 1 year, 3 months
Marketing assistance 1 year, 10 months
Telesales 1 year, 10 months
Waiter/Bartender 1 year, 11 months
Merchandiser/Promoter 2 years
Call centre operator 2 years, 1 month
Journalism/writing/editing 2 years, 3 months
Mechanical engineering 2 years, 3 months
Communications/Relations 2 years, 4 months
Business Analysis 2 years, 4 months
Representative/Sales consulting 2 years, 4 months
Data analysis/ Data warehousing 2 years, 4 months
Graphic/Print/Packaging Design 2 years, 6 months
Database development/Administration 2 years, 8 months
Client/Customer support 2 years, 9 months
Personal assistant 2 years, 9 months
Engineering technician 2 years, 11 months
IT Project Administration/Management 3 years
Claims assessment 3 years, 1 month
Medical assistance and support 3 years, 2 months
Electrician 3 years, 3 months
Purchasing and procurement 3 years, 7 months
Call centre supervisor 3 years, 8 months
Executive management/ director 4 years
Senior Management 4 years, 1 month

Career Junction reported that certain professions influence the amount of time an employee retains employment at the same job.

When looking at the professions with a higher tenure of more than 3.5 years, it was found that employees in management, professional and related occupations tend to stay in their posts for longer. “Employees in sales and the hospitality sectors tend to move on to new jobs more quickly,” the group said.

Difference between generations

Across all generations, the average job tenure remains 2 years and 10 months in South Africa.

According to the report, Baby Boomers (between 58 and 77 years old), had the highest average tenure of 7 years and a month. Gen Zs (under 27 years old), have the lowest job tenure – 1 year and 4 months. This is due to them having only recently entered the job market.

Employees aged between 28 and 42 stay roughly 2 years and 6 months on average in the same job while slightly older employees aged between 43 and 57 years old spend around five years in the same position.

“It is clear from the data that older generations tend to stay longer in their job roles while younger generations, particularly Gen Y, seem to job-hop in pursuit of new career opportunities.” Career Junction said.

Generation Y, which makes up the most significant portion of the South African workforce, are more likely to move from one opportunity to the next if they do not feel empowered to achieve the levels of career success they are chasing at their current organisation, said Career Junction.


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How long workers in South Africa stay in their jobs – based on their age