by Kim S. Nash

Average CIO Tenure Slips But Still More Than Four Years

Nov 11, 20072 mins

Average tenure has slipped more than six months since 2007, but CIO job lifespan still exceeds four years.

Stuart Scott, whom Microsoft fired as its CIO last week, is below average: He didn’t make it halfway to today’s typical CIO tenure.


What Being Fired Means to Your Career and How to Rebound

CIO Departures Usually Quiet…But Not Always

Scott was in the job for two years, but CIO normal tenure these day stands at four years and five months, according to data collected from 558 heads of IT in our 2008 “State of the CIO” survey.

Trends in how long CIOs last might surprise some observers who believe executives turn over quickly in that position. Tenure spiked to five years in 2006 and 2007, according to our annual survey. But taking a longer view, time on the job has been steady since 2003, at just shy of four-and-a-half years.

Average CIO Tenure Since 2003

Average CIO tenure climbed from 2003 to 2007 but dropped in the 2008 State of the CIO poll results. (Data not available for 2005)

Year Average Tenure (Years)
2003 4.3
2004 4.5
2006 4.9
2007 5.1
2008 4.4

Looking at net results over the past three years, the CIOs who have been in their current position a decade or longer decreased in the past year.

Been in the Job Long?

The percentage of respondents who have held their jobs for less than two years has climbed 7 percent since our 2006 survey.

How Long Have You Been In Your Current Position?
Less than 2 years 2 to 5 years 5 to 10 years More than 10 years
2008 31% 34% 28% 7%
2007 27% 33% 29% 11%
2006 24% 35% 31% 9%

Full results of the 2008 State of the CIO survey will be released December 15. Between now and then, we are previewing our findings. We’ve already reported that CIO salaries and influence and rising and that IT efficiency may have little to do with IT budgets.