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Job tenures of company executives have tumbled in the past decade, reflecting the changing marketplace, an employment consulting firm reports.

"More managers have become accustomed to shorter-term employment, and some industries want frequent change because they need fresh ideas," said James E. Challenger, president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.Job tenures for 1991 and the first half of 1992 were six to seven years compared with an average of eight to nine years through most of the 1980s, and a high of 12.5 years in 1984.

"The job market has become much more mobile since the last recession," Challenger said.

Consequently, employers have become more responsive to those who change positions every three years. Whereas previously, frequent job changes were considered a negative by employers, they have become the norm, he said.

"Now employers have the welcome mat out for people with past experience on several jobs, and changing positions is accepted as a method of personal advancement," Challenger said.

A company's main focus now is on short-term results - what can be done immediately to strengthen the company's bottom line, Challenger said.

"How long a prospective job candidate may have spent on the previous job is not important," Challenger said. "What is important is what he or she can bring to the table right now."

And as companies enter a period of economic recovery, short-term results are expected to receive even greater emphasis, as firms look for immediate profits to make them healthy, he said.