Do workers delaying retirement feel financially trapped?

Should I stay or should I go? That’s the question employees are asking regarding their retirement, but they’re getting mixed answers from their employers.

In a survey by MetLife Inc., half (55 per cent) of U.S. employers said they’d prefer older workers to retire to make room for the advancement of younger employees. The other 45 per cent said they want older staff to delay retirement to more smoothly transfer skills and knowledge to younger colleagues.

The survey also found the vast majority of employers appear to recognize that retirement benefits are a significant factor in determining when employees feel they can retire. Most (96 per cent) agreed the decline of defined benefit pensions has resulted in a greater reliance on defined contribution plans for retirement income.

Read: Canadians concerned about retirement readiness: surveys

However, 88 per cent agreed retirees need a guaranteed source of income they can’t outlive, while 95 per cent of employees said the same. Almost nine in 10 (87 per cent) employee respondents said increasing longevity is negatively impacting retirement security and 81 per cent of employers agreed that workers are delaying retirement because they feel financially trapped.

The survey also found more than half (57 per cent) of employer respondents said they expect future employees will retire at a later age than those working today. Overall, they anticipate their workers’ retirement age will rise by an average of 1.6 years, from 64.5 today to 66.1 in five years.

Among employee respondents, nine per cent said they never expect to retire, while 19 per cent said they don’t know when they will. But among those who do expect to retire, the outlook is a little more optimistic than the employer respondents. While employees’ expected average retirement age is 63.8, 43 per cent expected they’ll retire at 65 or older. About a fifth (21 per cent) of workers aged 55 and older said they’ve already delayed their retirement by an average of 4.4 years.

Read: Most Canadians unsure how much money they’ll need for retirement: survey