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WORKSPAN
WORKSPAN DAILY |

Being More Inclusive Can Improve Your Workforce’s Retirement Prospects

Workers globally and in the United States expect they will need on average 67% of their current income in retirement, yet relatively few believe they are on course to meet these needs (25% globally, 39% U.S.).

 

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This is according to “The New Social Contract: Age-Friendly Employers,” which is based on findings from 15 countries spanning the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia that was conducted in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. The research was a collaborative effort by Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement (ACLR) and nonprofits Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies (TCRS) and Instituto de Longevidade Mongeral Aegon.

The report noted that employers should strive to “cultivate an age-friendly workplace that recognizes the value and contributions of workers of all ages.” When asked about initiatives their employers have in place to encourage a multigenerational workplace, only 32% of workers globally (37% U.S.) indicate their employer has an age-neutral workplace; 27% globally (30% U.S.) said their employer has a supportive work environment; and 25% globally (30% U.S.) said their employer has an inclusive culture.

Additionally, the report indicated that employers should provide “retirement, health and welfare benefits — and design them with portability in mind so that workers can maintain them as their employment situation changes.” Globally, 52% of workers surveyed are offered a retirement plan by their employer (66% U.S.). 58% of workers globally agree with the idea that a “job for life” is a thing of the past (61% U.S.).

“Retirement systems around the world are undergoing severe strain due to increases in longevity, population aging, globalization, and evolving employment trends,” said Catherine Collinson, CEO and president of nonprofit Transamerica Institute and TCRS, and executive director of ACLR. “The coronavirus pandemic and economic downturn are intensifying existing risks to retirement security — and creating an even greater urgency for a new social contract among governments, employers, individuals, and other stakeholders.”

The report provided insights into how employers can ease their employees’ retirement concerns. Just 17% of workers surveyed across the globe have a written retirement strategy; 31% of U.S. workers have one. Additionally, 35% of workers reported having a backup plan in the event they are unable to continue working before they reach their planned retirement age (43% in the U.S.).

Other key takeaways and findings from the report:

  • Promote financial literacy through training, education, or financial wellness programs. Only 28% of workers globally could answer all the “Big Three” financial literacy questions developed by leading academic experts Drs. Annamaria Lusardi and Olivia Mitchell that test knowledge of compounding interest, inflation, and risk diversification (30% U.S.).
  • Encourage health and well-being by offering a workplace wellness program. More than eight in 10 workers are interested in one or more types of workplace wellness programs (86% global, 84% U.S.). The most often-cited types include exercise programs (35% global, 41% U.S.), healthy food or snack options at the office (35% global, 40% U.S.), and financial incentives for focusing on health and wellness (32% global, 36% U.S.).
  • Offer flexible work arrangements to help workers more easily balance their jobs and their personal lives. Globally, 50% of workers report having flexible working hours (55% U.S). Only 28% of workers indicate their employers offer pre-retirees the option to move from full-time to part-time work while phasing into retirement (27% U.S.).
  • Facilitate lifelong learning to help workers keep their job skills up to date and relevant. Almost three in four workers globally and in the U.S. (both 74%) are offered one or more types of training to help them keep their skills current and to remain employable in the future. 24% are offered reimbursement for continuing education (29% U.S.).

“The role of the employer in helping workers prepare for retirement transcends the offering of a job with a paycheck,” Collinson said. “Employers tremendously influence retirement preparedness among workers by providing retirement and other health and welfare benefits, offering flexible work arrangements, and enabling pre-retirees to work as long as they want.”


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