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Survey Results

Fewer Employees Postponing Their Retirements

It seems like just a year ago we were telling you that 72 percent of workers 60 and older were postponing retirement due to financial reasons. Turns out, it was. Where does the time go?

Who knows, but apparently in that year, the situation for mature workers began to improve. According to this year’s survey, 60 percent of mature workers are postponing retirement because of finances. Hopefully this is a sign that nest eggs are improving in a post-financial meltdown world.

For employers, it’s a definite sign that mature workers aren’t following any template when it comes to retirement. Financial concerns are still keeping workers tied to their jobs, but many other factors are playing a role, too. For example, 47 percent of workers intend to find freelance or part-time opportunities after retirement because they want to stay active as well as earn some extra money.

Additionally, 20 percent of surveyed mature workers have already asked their bosses about staying with the company longer. Meanwhile, 29 percent of employers are open to keeping these workers on board. These results suggest you have a good chance of retaining your most seasoned employees on either a full-time or part-time basis if you’re interested. That said, would-be retirees clearly have their retirement plans mapped out, so you should have a clear idea of where mature workers fit into your plan.

Looking ahead

Another positive sign that workers are feeling more financially secure than they were in recent years can be found in the amount who plan to leave the workforce in the near future. Surveyed mature workers were asked when they plan to retire, and most see it happening sooner than later:
•  28 percent will retire within the next two years
•  27 percent will retire in three to four years
•  18 percent will retire in five to six years
•  16 percent don’t expect to retire for at least seven years
•  10 percent of workers don’t expect to ever be able to retire

Financial concerns are the primary reason workers are postponing retirement, but workers are taking other issues into consideration. When asked why they’re putting off retirement, mature workers gave several reasons:
•  58 percent need the health insurance and other benefits of their employer
•  39 percent enjoy their jobs
•  36 percent enjoy where they work
•  26 percent fear retirement will be boring
•  14 percent enjoy feeling needed

What to consider
As you can see, retirement isn’t simply something every worker chooses to do (or not do) for purely financial reasons. Matures workers who are debating what to do once they reach retirement age have several options, and each one comes with questions they should ask themselves. Employers, too, have questions consider:

“Is HR prepared to handle mature worker questions?”
Retirement involves many components, such as planning a budget and knowing the ins and outs of finances. Workers will often turn to HR with questions about retirement funds and the company policy on retirement age, if part-time or freelance workers receive benefits, and more. Human resources departments should be prepared to handle these questions.

“Is part-time the right option for us?”
The survey found that 47 percent of mature workers intend to find part-time jobs after officially retiring. This means that you could have a significant portion of your retiring employees who aren’t prepared to leave the company fully. They might be willing to freelance for you or work as contractors so that you don’t lose their intellectual capital and can more easily adjust to their departures.

“What can they teach us?”
Mature workers have experience that comes from years of working in the industry. No new employee, even with the best education, understands difficult customers or last-minute emergencies like an industry veteran. Before they retire, ask your mature workers if they’re open to mentoring rising employees or leading a training course.

Ultimately, you want to remember that whether your mature workers retire today or in two years, they are going to take an invaluable amount of first-hand experience with them. You don’t want to throw them a farewell party and then realize the next day that you have two dozen questions you never asked them. By then they’ll be swinging in a hammock in Hawaii.

Anthony Balderrama

About Anthony Balderrama

Anthony Balderrama is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com. He researches and writes about job searches and workplace issues, which means he has written the word “résumé” approximately 2 million times. He currently lives in Chicago but easily gives away his Dallas roots by frequently saying “howdy” and “y’all” without any irony.
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