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Boomer retirement has executives worried

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Boomers, although many plan to work longer, are not going to be in the workforce for much longer – and that reality is increasingly worrisome to executives, already disconcerted by their own retirement.

The latest Executive Quiz released last week by research organization The Korn/Ferry Institute shows 48 percent of respondents said their companies are either very concerned or somewhat concerned about losing critical knowledge as boomers retire, up 7 percent from 2004.

“While boomers are planning to stay in the workforce longer than originally planned, there is still a real sense of urgency for companies to benefit from their experience and ensure that this knowledge is handed down to the next generation of leaders,” said Joe Griesedieck, vice chairman and managing director for Korn/Ferry. “Implementing programs to facilitate a seamless information exchange from one generation of executives to the other continues to be a critical issue impacting corporations worldwide.”

Furthermore, the survey reveals retirement concerns are reaching top corporate levels as 52 percent of executives plan to retire at age 64 or higher, a jump of 8 percent compared with results collected in 2004 when Korn/Ferry last surveyed executives about retirement plans.

The survey results show that the majority (63 percent) of executives are planning to work later in life than they expected just three years ago. Only 25 percent of executive respondents have not changed their retirement expectations recently. When asked if their company provides adequate retirement benefits, 53 percent of executives said no, 39 percent said yes, and Korn/Ferry says a “surprising” 8 percent said they were not sure of their company’s retirement program.

When directly asked if the economy was to blame for altering retirement plans, executives were split. Nearly half (48 percent) said yes – whether it be a delay in retirement age (32 percent), change in savings strategy (14 percent) or taking early retirement (two percent). The remaining 52 percent believed the economy has not had a direct impact on retirement plans.