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Tuesday to Thursday - nine to noon: ideal work week for older workers according to RBC workplace survey


TORONTO, April 2008 — If companies are looking to retain older workers, they are going to have to offer perks such as shorter work weeks and flexible hours, according to a workplace survey from RBC. And it appears that, of those surveyed, employed Canadians who are 55 years of age and older would prefer to work Tuesday through Thursday and work mainly in the morning from nine to noon.

“With unemployment levels at an all time low, good employees are harder to find. Older workers are becoming an integral part of the Canadian workforce and employers need to look at ways of retaining and attracting them,” said Christianne Paris, vice-president, Recruitment and Learning, RBC. “Employers may have to alter the work environment or their recruitment profiles to suit older workers who are looking for more flexibility in their lives as they either transition into retirement or look to come back into the workforce.”

Conducted by Ipsos Reid and titled The Competition for Canadian Talent, the RBC survey found there are several key factors that employers need to keep in mind to attract and retain older employees from leaving the workforce. Extended health care benefits (60 per cent) is the top factor, followed by flexible work hours (47 per cent), having a guaranteed wage/salary (34 per cent) and phasing in the retirement process (24 per cent). In addition, employed Canadians age 55 and older also would like to have 6.4 weeks of vacation a year.

The survey also found that even though four in ten Canadians still plan to take full retirement when eligible, many older employees have changed their attitude towards retirement. While 22 per cent would like to phase retirement in gradually, more than a quarter (26 per cent) would like to retire and work on a contractual basis.

However, 36 per cent of those 55 and older are only looking to work full-time for a few years and then scale back to part-time hours or retire fully while 38 per cent would prefer to work part-time for their current employer as they transition into retirement. Two-thirds of employed Canadians 55 and older would prefer to stay with their current employer and change jobs, rather than work for another company.

The survey also uncovered that older workers still feel a strong sense of loyalty to their existing employers, as more than a quarter of those surveyed would continue to work full-time as long as they could with their current employer. On average, older employed Canadians are looking to work with their current employer for 3.5 more years past their retirement date.

In looking at some possible reasons why older workers would delay retirement, almost half (49 per cent) believe that they need the money and don’t have enough saved to retire while 42 per cent want to stay mentally challenged and active. Almost one quarter (24 per cent) enjoy the social part of working, while 21 per cent love their job and don’t want to retire.

“According to Statscan, just over two million Canadians age 55 to 64 were employed in 2006, 43 per cent more than in 2001,” said Paris. “With more older workers postponing retirement, the new multi-generational workforce presents both challenges and opportunities that employers will need to address.”

These are some of the findings of an RBC poll conducted by Ipsos Reid between November 5 and November 15, 2007. The online survey is based on randomly selected representative sample of 2,052 Canadian full and part-time workers. With a representative sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within ±2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult Canadian population been polled. These data were statistically weighted to ensure the sample’s regional and age composition reflects that of the actual employed Canadian population according to the 2006 Census data.


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