Mickie Ashman has what she regards as the ideal arrangement at work as she nears retirement. The 66-year-old Calgary human-resources co-ordinator has the security of a permanent job at AltaGas Ltd., an energy infrastructure firm, but she has been able to reduce her work hours from full-time to a more comfortable three days a week. That suits her better than either continuing to work full-time or retiring completely. She enjoys her job, appreciates the paycheques with benefits, but also likes having more time to herself. “This way I have both the wherewithal to do the things I want to do and the time to do it,” she says.
Ashman is one of the fortunate few nearing retirement who have achieved the ideal combination of a secure job plus flexible work hours. Many baby boomers in their late 50s and 60s expect to keep working longer than their parents’ generation, but studies show they’re hoping to do it on their own terms. A Sun Life Financial survey conducted by Ipsos Reid released earlier this year found that 59% of Canadians age 57 to 65 were expecting to gear down to part-time, freelance or other reduced-hour arrangements prior to full retirement. But with the paucity of flexible arrangements on offer to permanent employees, getting what they want may not be so easy. There are opportunities for older employees to work part-time or get more time off by becoming contract workers, but those options don’t come with job security.
Pioneering employers like AltaGas that offer flexible arrangements to their older permanent employees usually have an eye to trying to retain the skills and experience of their aging baby boomers a little longer. “We have baby boomers coming down the pike and getting close to that age, and so we want to look more frequently at flexible arrangements,” says Nicole Arienzale, AltaGas director of human resources and administrative services. Flex policies at different companies often include reduced hours in various forms, including a transitional “phased retirement.” There is also job sharing (where two employees might co-ordinate to fill one full-time position), temporary leaves and time off (including leaves to care for ailing spouses or parents), and being allowed to work from remote locations…
Choosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor from