Most Workers Plan a Working Retirement

August 17, 2005 ( - Nearly 7 in 10 American workers report that they plan to continue to work full- or part-time for pay following retirement from their main job, according to a new national survey of American workers.

According to a news release about the study by the Heidrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University another 14% plan to work as volunteers. Only 13% of employees expect to completely stop working.

Also, employees are suspicious that employers favor younger workers over older workers. Moreover, four in 10 workers disagree that Social Security and Medicare will still be available when they retire; only one in five strongly believes that both programs will be a source of support when needed.

“The traditional notion of retirement, where one stops working completely and enjoys leisure time with friends and family, is obsolete,” noted Carl Van Horn, Director and Professor of the Heldrich Center, and Co-Director of the Work Trends project, in the news release. “In fact, workers in 2005 feel less confident than they did in 2000 that they will be financially able to leave the workforce ahead of traditional retirement age.”

The study finds that many employees lack reliable sources of retirement income:

  • Among those eligible for an employer-sponsored retirement or pension plan, 51% are “very confident” their plan will yield the benefits they expect upon retirement.
  • 39% of workers believe they are primarily responsible for securing their retirement income compared with 25% who cite employers and 18% who cite government. Yet, 35% currently save nothing to supplement expected Social Security payments.
  • 46% agree they are doing a good job of saving for retirement, down from 52% in 2000.
  • Among workers who had retired but are still in the workforce, 54% said they went back to work because they needed the income. They did not choose to give up full-time retirement voluntarily; working was a necessity.

When is a Worker Old?

Other survey results included:

  • 71% of American workers believe older workers are more likely to be laid off when a company reduces its workforce.
  • 44% believe older workers are treated unfairly when employers are making hiring decisions.
  • 86% believe younger workers that are laid off are more likely than older employees to find new jobs that have the same or better pay than their previous jobs.
  • A majority of workers do not consider themselves to be “older” workers until at least the age of 60. However, they believe employers classify workers as “old” at much earlier ages. Nearly 40% of workers think that employers start to view a worker as old by the age of 50.

The survey and report, A Work-Filled Retirement: Workers’ Changing Views on Employment and Leisure , is a national survey that explores attitudes of the US workforce. The Work Trends survey polled 800 American workers between May and mid-June 2005.

The report is here .