loyalemployeesThese days, it’s not as common for employees to stay with one company for their entire careers, with people working at one place for an average of just 3.68 years.

So which companies hold on to their employees the longest? Seattle-based salary data company PayScale just ran a study analyzing data they obtained from Fortune 500 companies to find out which companies have the most and least loyal employees based on median employee tenure.

Amazon.com tied for second for the least loyal employees with a median tenure of one year, while Google tied for fourth with just 1.1 years of tenure on average. Apple, meanwhile, tied for 36th at two years. Here’s the bottom 20 companies on the list:


Microsoft, however, was all the way down the list tied for 259th with an average tenure of four years. In terms of the most-loyal employees, Kodak finished first with an average tenure of 20 years. Here’s the top 20 companies on the list:


Other Seattle companies worth noting: Starbucks (104th, 2.8 years), Boeing (315th, 4.6 years) and Costco (333rd, 4.8 years).

PayScale noted that it was complicated to create this ranking because of all the reasons why an employee stays or leaves a company. Median employee tenure was calculated from 250,000 profiles based on several data points, including:

  • Median age
  • Median years with employer
  • Total cash compensation
  • National median pay
  • Percentage of workers with low stress
  • Percentage of satisfied workers
  • Industry

See the report here, along with the full explanation of the methodology here.

Previously on GeekWire: Here’s what employees love, hate about working at Amazon, Microsoft

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline


  • http://www.artsumo.com Naysawn Naderi

    My bet is that Google’s short tenures stem from their strategy of using talent acquisitions to grow their development org.

    It always seemed like an odd strategy to me since most entrepreneurs don’t want to work for a big company – so it’s natural for them to leave shortly after they are vested.

  • MattBuchan

    This seems like an odd study. I am not sure tenure is a good indicator of loyalty in fast growing companies. I gather than this study defines tenure as the time passed between start date and your termination date or today which ever comes first. So for very young companies or companies with very fast growing workforces, they will always appear to have short tenure, even if they have very low turnover, simply because very little time will have passed since these people have been hired. Even if you only count tenure of employees who have terminated, young and fast growing companies will skew towards short tenure terminations because those are the only people who have had the opportunity to leave. So basically what this study is telling us is that Kodak and General Motors are relatively mature companies while Google and Amazon are relatively young companies…

  • Salem Sarieddine

    I don’t know that tenure of current staff can be used as an accurate gauge of “loyalty”. Amazon is hiring 1000’s of employees per year, vastly outpacing attrition- So I would think this accelerating growth would corrupt the data by diluting perceived tenure

  • Theodore Ts’o

    It looks like the “study” is likely suffering from severe sampling bias. People who are looking to leave their employer (i.e., who are the most loyal) or have left their employer are more likely to fill out the survey offered by the PayScale company. So it’s highly likely that the most loyal people at Amazon and Google aren’t being counted at all in their numbers.

    • Gregg Leventhal

      I’m going to lean towards siding with the guy who is responsible for /dev/random and e2fsprogs :) Thanks for making awesome stuff Mr. Ts’o!

  • http://miceplans.net nikkie

    I think you need to take into account campus age before you put any stock into this. The Microsoft campus has been around for much longer than Google’s, which was primarily based out of CA until 2006. Microsoft was founded in 1975, while Amazon was founded in 1994.

  • SeaSpider

    I’m a bit surprised to see Google so far down the list but not all surprised by Amazon. I know plenty of people who work/have worked for both and have interviewed dozens of candidates from each. I also think location is a factor. If you’re a tech company in the Bay Area or Seattle you’re going to have more turnover as there is more competition/options. If you’re at Kodak in Rochester where else are you going to go? Ditto for many other companies at the top of the low turnover list. They tend to be companies in parts of the country where there is little direct industry competition. Reality is many people can’t or won’t relocate out of state for a new job and so they stay where they’re at.

  • Sunil Nagaraj

    TERRIBLE analysis. Median employee tenure assumes all companies are hiring on the same pace which is false. A low mean tenure could be a result of people leaving or the company hiring a lot of new employees.

  • Guest

    How many people at a 5 year old company will have 20 years of tenure? If a couple doubles in size one year, half of the employees will have a tenure of 1 year or less?

Job Listings on GeekWork