Government Employees Postponing Retirement

May 15, 2013 ( – More than one-third of state and local government employees are postponing when they retire, according to a survey.

The annual survey, “State and Local Government Workforce: 2013 Trends,” from the Center for State and Local Government Excellence and the International Public Management Association for Human Resources, asked supervisors what changes their retirement-eligible employees had made about their plans for retirement and found 37.6% indicated employees postponed their retirement date, 21.7% said employees accelerated their retirement date, 23.6% reported employees made no changes to their retirement date and 20.5% said “don’t know.”

When asked if they felt their employees were financially prepared for their retirement, nearly half of the supervisors (44.1%) said “no”, 37.6% said “don’t know” and 18.3% said “yes.”

As to whether supervisors had seen any indications over the past year that their employees were saving more, less or the same for retirement as in previous years, 37.8% said “don’t know,” 29.4% said “the same amount,” 17.3% said “less” and 15.5% said “more.”

Other findings of the survey included changes to retirement benefits for new hires such as:

  • Increased employee contributions to pension plans (33.5%);
  • Increased age and service requirements for normal retirement (26.1%);
  • Decreased pension benefits (15.1%);
  • Other (9.9%);
  • Reduced or eliminated cost of living adjustments (9.9%);
  • Increased minimum eligibility requirements or vesting (9.9%);
  • Increased employer contributions to pension plans (8.5%);
  • Replaced a defined benefit (DB) plan with a defined contribution (DC) plan (4.4%);
  • Replaced a DB plan with a hybrid plan or combining of DB and DC plan (4%); and
  • Decreased employer contributions to DC plan (2.9%).


The Center for State and Local Government Excellence identifies best practices and conducts research on competitive employment practices, workforce development, pensions, retiree health security and financial planning. The International Public Management Association (IPMA) for Human Resources is an organization of human resource professionals. Three hundred and twenty-three IPMA-HR members took part in the survey, which was conducted in March and April 2013.

Highlights of the survey can be found here.