University of Michigan Prepares for Employee Exodus

July 6, 2012 ( – The University of Michigan is expecting nearly one-fifth of its workforce will retire in the next five years.

By Rebecca Moore | July 06, 2012
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By the end of 2017, 39% of faculty and 35% of staff will be eligible to retire, Laurita Thomas, university associate vice president for human resources, told University officials expect roughly half of those eligible will actually retire.  

In 2002, employees older than 50 comprised 39% of the workforce. In 2011, that number had risen to 46%, according to a Human Capital Report for the University. In 2012, 762 staff will become newly eligible to retire. In 2017, there will be 1,060 newly eligible retirees.  

The news report noted that the aging of the population coupled with a recovering economy is why officials are predicting a larger than usual wave of retirements. "The economy has adjusted somewhat. People aren’t quite as concerned about sustaining their incomes through retirement," Thomas said. 

Timothy Slottow, the University’s chief financial officer, told the university is cognizant of encouraging new leaders to step up in order to avoid a leadership void after the impending wave of retirements. "For staff it’s a real issue with succession planning and leadership development, because when people have been here for twenty years they know a lot about the complex way a university runs," he said. "You have to build that skill base."