Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Study Reports that "Working in Retirement" Will Become the Norm

According to a study by the Families and Work Institute (FWI) and the Sloan Center on Aging & Work, fully 75% of workers aged 50 and older expect to have retirement jobs in the future. This will be a significant change from today, where already one in five workers aged 50 and older has fully retired from his or her former career job but currently is working for pay in a new role--defined as a "retirement job."

"Working In Retirement: A 21st Century Phenomenon", co-authored by Melissa Brown, Kerstin Aumann, Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes, Ellen Galinsky and James T. Bond, used data from FWI's 2008 National Study of the Changing Workforce and reports that, among other things, money is not the only motivation for continuing to work; 31% report that they are working to stay active, and 18% say they want to contribute and be productive. In fact, less than one in five report working in retirement due to insufficient income, though they do earn less money than those who have never retired-—the typical median yearly income among those working in retirement is $21,000 less than those who have never retired.

Writing about their work in The Huffington Post, Galinsky, Pitt-Catsouphes, and Brown point out five important differences between assumption and reality about older workers in retirement jobs:
  1. Assumption: Careers are Linear; Finding: 20% of U.S. workers over 50 years old have fully retired from a job and are now working.
  2. Assumption: People Work in Retirement Because They Have To; Finding: Retired workers are in the labor force both because they have to and want to.
  3. Assumption: Older Workers Don't Work Very Hard; Finding: Working retirees are working hard and in some ways have better jobs than their pre-retirement jobs.
  4. Assumption: There is Widespread Tension Between Older Workers and Younger Bosses; Finding: Approximately one in ten workers has a supervisor who isn't supportive when work problems arise--regardless of the difference in age between the worker and his or her supervisor.
  5. Assumption 5: Working in Retirement Will Disappear As a Phenomenon When The Recession Eases; Finding: Working in retirement has become the "new normal."
Source: Families and Work Institute News Release (October 6, 2010)

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