On a + note

People are simply working longer. #48: 2012

Posted in on a + note by Admin on January 16, 2012

I am sure it will come as no surprise that new data from the Institut de la statistique du Québec (http://www.stat.gouv.qc.ca/default_an.htm) show the number of people working past age 65 has mushroomed in the last decade. In Ontario and Quebec, it has grown from 117,000 workers over age 65 in 2000 to more than 294,000 in 2010. The annual employment growth rate for people over 65 in Canada is in excess of 11%, and the growth rate is even higher for university-educated employees.

Freedom 55, a uniquely Canadian marketing campaign of the insurance giant London Life, was a national slogan in the 1980s. It promoted the idea that, with wise investment planning, you could retire at age 55. It is now clear that Freedom 55 is dead in 2012! We all sort of had a hunch that this was happening as we watched our employees delay retirement, but now we have statistical conformation of the trend. People are simply working longer. By choice or by necessity, the average Canadian can expect to be in the work force for more than 40 years! Yikes. 

Workers are delaying retirement, because:

► they simply cannot afford to retire. The financial crisis of the last few years significantly impacted their retirement funds, or they have ongoing family expenses and debt that have delayed saving for retirement

►their skills and experience are in high demand. Companies struggle to find young, skilled employees to take their place.

►there is a growing number of workers who still want to work, but not at the same level. They take jobs that are less stressful or offer flexible hours and working conditions

The entire work life cycle of Canadians is changing. People are staying in school longer. They are having kids later in life, and they are carrying significantly more debt. This means they are unable to start saving for their retirement until their kids have completed their education.  Retirement for most Canadians in 1990 was expected to last 15-20 years.  In 2012, retirement is expected to last 20-22 years. The longer you live, the more retirement funds you need.

This trend is impacting libraries as we manage our staffing levels and plan for the future. People are simply working longer.

Kitty Pope                                                                                               #49 January 2012


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