Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Study: Preparing Academia for an Aging Workforce

The University of Iowa Center on Aging and the TIAA-CREF Institute have issued a report calling on academic institutions to start making a more concerted effort to engage with and support aging employees as they continue to work well past the traditional retirement age. According to "Promoting Workplace Longevity and Desirable Retirement Pathways within Academic Institutions," less than 5% of the 187 academic institution HR officials surveyed identified issues pertaining to aging faculty and staff as a top institutional priority, even though financial obligations to these employees constitute the largest growing part of university budgets.

Brian Kaskie, Ph.D., the lead author and associate professor of health management and policy in the College of Public Health and associate director for the Center on Aging, said that "[b]etween 2000 and 2010 the proportion of all professors 65 and older nearly doubled, and the aging professorate now outpaces all other white collar professions." Thus, "[t]he lack of attention being directed to the challenges and opportunities presented by the aging academic workforce is alarming."

According to the Executive Summary:
There was little correlation among programs and retirement pathway offerings. Institutions that rated highly on wellness programs or retirement counseling services did not always offer a variety of retirement pathways. Instead, most universities and colleges appeared to pursue a piecemeal approach toward accommodating and transitioning aging employees; their efforts more often were developed in response to an immediate demand rather than in pursuit of a strategic plan.
Among the report's recommendations for making more aging-friendly academic institutions are that (1) institutions should address attitudes about the aging workforce and identify offerings in wellness programming, counseling services, workplace accommodations and retirement pathways, and (2) focusing on the development of programs that promote workplace longevity and provide employees with information that aids their decision-making about retirement will go a long way toward maintaining healthy and engaged employees who pursue a more predictable retirement pathway.

Source: University of Iowa Iowa Now (March 21, 2012)

No comments: