The Great Resignation has seen workers rethinking their career choices in the wake of the COVID crisis. For older employees, however, the question isn't so much about whether to switch jobs. It's about whether they can leave the workforce at all – and with enough preparation and savings for their retirement. This marks what workforce analysts call the "Great Delay".
A quarter of employees aged 45 and older – who rely on employers to sponsor their retirement plans in the US – said the pandemic has forced them to postpone their retirement, or has even kept them back from ever retiring at all. The incidence of delayed or no retirement is higher among workers aged 65 and older (30%), according to a survey by the US-based Nationwide Retirement Institute.
"On average, plan participants who say they will delay their retirement expect to work for at least three years later than they thought they would prior to the pandemic," the analysts reported.
"These delayed retirements have had a direct impact on these employees' happiness at work and likely business outcomes for their employers," they said. Respondents are reportedly feeling:
These sentiments are "bleeding into their work life," with the Great Delay now proving detrimental to people and their:
Mental health (48%)
Morale at work (39%)
A bigger concern, however, is the fact that less than a quarter of employer-sponsors are aware of their workers' predicament, analysts found.
"While many companies are focused on attracting and retaining talent during the Great Resignation, there is another group of their employee base that needs attention in order to transition out of the workforce," said Amelia Dunlap, vice president at Nationwide Retirement Solutions, a US insurance and financial services firm.
"It's clear delayed retirements can foster negative emotions, which can be detrimental to a company's culture and bottom line. Employers should look to invest in the short-term and long-term financial planning solutions that help employees reach their financial goals and prepare for the retirement they want, when they want it," Dunlap said. "Doing so may not only help those who are ready to retire, but potentially serve as a reason for younger talent to stay with the company."