US - Women are more likely to take advantage of phased retirement plans while men respond more favourably to eldercare assistance programs, new research by Watson Wyatt has found.
The study found work-life programs like these can persuade workers to delay full retirement – but preferences differ between men and women.
“Men tend to be ‘remote’ caregivers who provide financial support rather than personal care, so eldercare assistance programs better meet their needs,” said Valerie Paganelli, a senior retirement consultant at Watson Wyatt.
“Women on the other hand are more likely than men to provide ‘hand-on’ personal care services. The flexibility offered by phased retirement programs often can address women’s caregiving needs more effectively than eldercare assistance programs can.”
The analysis found that eldercare assistance programs – which help workers identify and evaluate services needed to care for elderly relatives – increase men’s average retirement age by 8 months, versus just one month for women.
Phased retirement programs – which allow workers to transition into retirement by switching to part-time or flexible work schedule – stretch women’s average retirement age by 21 months, versus 5 months for men.
“With the forthcoming labour shortage, work-life programs will become increasingly important tools for employers looking to hang on to much-needed older workers,” Paganelli said.
“Those that can keep these workers will be in a much better competitive position.”
The Watson Wyatt research looked at the retirement patterns of 37000 workers at large and medium-sized firms. Of those firms surveyed, 27% offered eldercare assistance while 16% offered a formal phased retirement option.
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