Recruitment, Retention and Retirement in Higher Education

Recruitment, Retention and Retirement in Higher Education

Building and Managing the Faculty of the Future

Edited by Robert L. Clark and Jennifer Ma

This volume examines some of the most pressing employment and compensation issues confronting academic administrators. Contributors discuss topics such as: ageing of faculty, changing economic conditions and shifts in faculty employment patterns, rapid increases in health care costs and trends in retiree health insurance, and adoption of phased and early retirement programs.

Chapter 9: The value of phased retirement

Steven G. Allen

Subjects: economics and finance, economics of education, public sector economics, education, economics of education


Steven G. Allen Higher education faces a unique challenge in the coming years as faculty who are members of the baby boom generation near retirement. There will be one set of problems if the most senior faculty stay on too long and there will be a different set if they all leave at once. With the elimination of mandatory retirement in 1994, universities and colleges are concerned about the possibility that many faculty will remain on the job past age 70. There are fears that this will have adverse consequences for teaching and research productivity and will lead to higher tuition charges to cover salaries and benefits. At the same time there is concern on many campuses that the age distribution of faculty is so heavily skewed toward the 50-andover range that universities will face shortages in many fields by the end of this decade. From a faculty perspective, there are serious challenges as well. Some faculty work longer than they would prefer simply because they are not yet eligible for full pension and Social Security benefits. The tenure system generally does not permit part-time work, making it difficult for older faculty to cut back on their work hours as they near retirement. In the private sector, many older workers take bridge jobs as they transition from fulltime work into retirement. Although some faculty members have good options off campus, those in many disciplines will have difficulty finding opportunities to apply the teaching and research...

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