Today, the median number of years employees have been at their current company is four years. And that number has dropped slightly in the last year. Though short stints with a variety of employers appears to be the norm, it’s not uncommon to find employees stick around longer.

According to a recent study conducted by SMS Research Advisors, and commissioned by Padilla, career stage – the number of years an employee has been at the company – plays a significant role in employee engagement. The study also found employees have different challenges and motivators in the workplace, depending on their career stage:

  • Newbie: 3 years or less at a company
  • Sophomore: 4-7 years at a company
  • Tenured: 8-10 years at a company
  • Sage: 11 years or more at a company

With eight years under my belt at Padilla, I fall into the tenured stage. At the highest level, the variation in key motivators isn’t all that different for the four career stages. The order of importance varies, but it seems that all employees want to contribute to their organization’s overall mission or goals, achieve a job well done and contribute in a meaningful way.

However, significant differentiation starts to appear in the biggest challenges faced by each career stage. For tenured employees, they are:

  1. Saving for retirement (52%)
  2. Funding the priorities in life (48%)
  3. Not meeting personal goals or expectations (31%)
  4. Opportunities to further career (30%)

The same data point with newbies shows drastic differences, with a much bigger percentage of employees challenged by not meeting personal goals or expectations (42 percent), while opportunities to further career didn’t boil to the top.

If the tenured employees (in the 8 to 10-year range) are faced with similar challenges to tenured married couples (we’ve all heard of the seven-year itch!), it’s no surprise that employees nearing a decade with their company have likely grappled with their current position and what comes next. Tenured employees look to their organization to provide opportunities to help them meet personal goals and further their career.

Tenured employees look to their organization to provide opportunities to help them meet personal goals and further their career. Click To Tweet

Organizations that provide a variety of ways for their employees to remain engaged, challenged and provide a visible path forward will be successful in keeping tenured employees long into the sage stage.

For a closer look at how best to engage employees across all career stages, check out the Engage by Stage research report.