boomers
Credit: AAG

Canadians nearing quittin’ age aren’t so eager to take the plunge

New York–based Harris Insights & Analytics has released its recent Harris Poll, commissioned by Express Employment Professionals, on Canadian baby boomers and retirement trends. Its findings show that most workers aged 54 to 72 are satisfied with their jobs and would prefer to stay in the workforce as semi-retired, rather than make a full exit.

Employers, however, may be one of the biggest obstacles workers face. Only 30 percent  of boomers surveyed said their employer offers the option of semi-retirement. With the supply of core working-age Canadians at an all-time low—and projected to keep falling—businesses might want to consider giving soon-to-be retirees the option to stay on part-time.

“This poll should be a wake-up call to employers,” said Express CEO Bill Stoller in a release. “Boomers want to keep working, but employers are showing them the office exits instead. In a tight labour market, employers should be doing everything they can to keep or bring back these qualified workers, including offering semi-retirement.”

A concern often voiced is that following generations may not be as suited to take on the boomers’ duties. In fact, 51 percent of those surveyed don’t think there’s an adequate successor to replace them on retirement. Also, while more than 80 percent said they’re willing to mentor the next generation of workers, over 60 percent haven’t shared most of their knowledge with those intended to replace them, highlighting the lack of preparedness for the boomers’ departures.

“If something doesn’t change, there’s going to be a big knowledge vacuum when boomers leave the workplace,” Stoller said. He goes on to explain that, while employers don't currently have the system in place to pass on information between retirees and successors, the eagerness shown by the boomers to share their knowledge provides an opportunity to solve both problems at once with the introduction of a semi-retirement option.

With 39 percent of workers surveyed planning to retire later than originally anticipated and their willingness to stay on in a semi-retired capacity, employers may want to think twice about the labour market and possible solutions to the projected shortages.baby boomers