Benefits & Executive Compensation News

Perks of Work: Workplace Retirements Stress Out Everyone

Dec. 14, 2018, 2:00 PM

Time for Perks of Work, our weekly recap of intriguing data, surveys, and trends about the 21st century workplace.

Fascinated by all things 401(k)? Is open enrollment season your favorite time of year? Check this space every Friday to keep up with the latest water-cooler talk.

Since You’ve Been Gone

Whoever said “parting is such sweet sorrow” was probably not in management.

Retirements in the workplace cause confusion for everyone, according to a survey by global advisory firm Willis Towers Watson. Employers aren’t quite sure when older workers plan to split (right at retirement age?) or how much savings departing staffers will have to live on once they leave.

More than half of the employees polled said they’d be fine with leaving “as soon as I can afford to do so,” while around a third said they expect to stay on into their 70s.

It turns out that managers sweat lots of other stuff when it comes time to saying goodbye.

When employees walk out the door they take a whole lot more than earned benefits with them. The biggest issue for employers is finding suitable replacements with comparable skills and/or knowledge. It’s also tough losing “company-specific knowledge”—invaluable insights that can only be gleaned by really getting to know a place.

The flip side is that if an employee stays too long, that makes it harder for younger counterparts to climb the corporate ladder.

Are We Having Fun Yet?

Work is not typically fun. But could it be?

As part of its fourth annual Workforce Mindset study Alight Solutions asked over 2,500 employees to describe a “fun” workplace.

The wish list includes:

  • “I want to solve hard, interesting problems”;
  • “Anywhere creativity is encouraged”; and
  • “A place where employees can actively engage and feel like they’re making a big impact together”

None of the respondents mentioned “complimentary meatball sub station.” So the dream job hunt continues…

The Big Ask

Negotiating a starting salary can be nerve-racking. And not doing it right from the get-go can set one back nearly a million bucks in the long run.

The sobering projection is part of ZipRecruiter’s annual job seeker survey. The online job site found that most applicants (at least 59 percent) in various age groups accepted the first salary offered to them by their current employer.

Per ZipRecruiter, those that stay at the table tend to pad their starting salaries by $5,000 above the initial offering. Extrapolating that pay bump out over 45 years (with annual raises of 5 percent) adds up to over $750,000 in additional earnings for fearless negotiators.

On the upside, those who stayed silent can always make up the difference by working a few more decades with the lifers from the Willis Towers survey.

Hungry for more? Send any tips, polls, or story pitches to wrojas@bloomberglaw.com.

To contact the reporter on this story: Warren Rojas in Washington at wrojas@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Fawn Johnson at fjohnson@bloomberglaw.com; Brent Bierman at bbierman@bloomberglaw.com

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