“Gradual retirement” goal of many Canadian workers

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The potential for mass retirement as baby boomers hit their 60s is a major headache for HR, but a recent survey offers a ray of hope: it seems most Canadians aren’t expecting to just walk away from their job when they hit the right age.

Two-thirds (66%) of those aged 40 to 64 said they planned to transition slowly into retirement, rather than stopping work suddenly, according to a Desjardins Insurance survey of 2,037 Canadians.

"The traditional notion of retirement — of packing up your office at the end of your last day and completely changing your life — is ending," said Angela Iermieri, financial planner at Desjardins Group. "Smart organizations will support this change in their workplaces to help address the huge pressures that will be created as baby boomers make this shift."

Facilitating gradual retirement will have benefits for everyone in the coming decade, she said.

"Supporting the most experienced, knowledgeable staff to remain in the workforce in a transitional way allows employers to take advantage of their strengths, while they mentor younger workers who bring new skills and energy. Demographic patterns will soon create a critical shortage of experienced workers that transitional retirement can help address."

More than one-half of respondents who planned to retire abruptly felt gradual retirement would not be an option for them. When asked how their employers could do to help them to transition into retirement, respondents suggested continued health benefits were a critical incentive. Other important incentives included:

  • an interesting offer in terms of tasks, workplace and team
  • a less demanding position
  • a better salary
  • new challenges.

Some Canadian companies have already noticed the trend, and are making sure their workers have options available.

BMO Financial Group offered many of their mature workers the ability to transition smoothly and slowly into retirement by working part-time, often taking on a mentoring role with upcoming employees. It’s often a combination of financial reasons and the desire to ease their way into full-time retirement.

“Individuals want to work longer and they’re fully engaged and committed. Why wouldn’t we want to benefit from that?” BMO chief talent officer Lynn Roger said.

  • mal on 2014-06-24 7:15:11 PM

    I think this is an excellent idea and more employers should adopt to the idea of letting employees retire gradually. As people get older they need to feel that they are also valuable to the society (which they are). And if employers allow mature employees to work on part time basis, and let them mentor the new employees it is beneficial for both the employees and the employers. New employee gain from the experience ans wisdom of the mature employee and older employees feel that their services are valued which may also benefit their psychological state of mind.

    Additionally, if an employee has worked for many years with one employer than I think that the employer has a moral responsibility to support the retiring employee with medical and dental benefits after full or partial retirement.

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