Understanding The Faculty Retirement (Non) Decision
Two-thirds of tenured faculty expect to work past normal retirement age—but their reasons for doing so may be based on faulty assumptions.
About a third of tenured faculty age 50 or older expect to retire by “normal” retirement age, while fully two-thirds anticipate working past that age or have already done so. This latter group is sometimes called “reluctant retirees,” and when their numbers swell on campus, it can lead to productivity declines, limited advancement opportunities for junior faculty, a lack of openings for new hires, and difficulty reallocating institutional resources. This report, which describes senior faculty’s thought process concerning retirement, was written to help institutional leaders address the reluctant retiree phenomenon and better manage faculty retirement patterns.
This report is based on the responses of 770 tenured faculty, age 50 or older, from the Faculty Career and Retirement Survey. The survey, fielded in 2014, examined faculty expectations and preferences concerning retirement and the factors that influence retirement decisions.