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A new RTOERO survey shows 30 per cent of education sector workers have either decided to retire sooner than planned or are considering retiring sooner, because of the pandemic. The findings are captured in the 2022 Future retirees report, which summarizes the responses of more than 900 future retirees from Canada’s education sector, 92 per cent of whom are retiring in the next year to five years.
“The very word retirement might stir up worry for some education HR managers who are grappling with ways to fill staffing shortages brought on by the pandemic,” says Jim Grieve, CEO of RTOERO. “At the same time, our survey shows the pandemic has caused education sector employees to rethink their retirement plans
RTOERO is encouraging employers to reflect on the findings and consider how they might support education sector workers as they prepare for retirement.
Notes Grieve, “The working conditions during the pandemic really took a toll on folks and so if they’re close to retirement, it’s unsurprising that they’re reflecting on their priorities and what’s best for them at this stage. Accepting this reality is necessary as we forge a sustainable future for Canada’s education sector—how can we both support retirement planning and support organization missions and strategic goals?”
In general, respondents indicated they feel emotionally prepared for retirement. When asked to describe retirement in one word or phrase, ‘Freedom’ was the most common response, followed by ‘travel’ and ‘time’.
“Our survey shows that those approaching retirement have a largely positive and optimistic view of their future,” says Grieve. “They’re looking forward to an active time of travel and exciting activities of their own choosing. This fits with what we know about retirees – their happiness continues to grow throughout retirement.”
RTOERO conducted the survey in February 2022. The majority of respondents are either classroom educators or school administrators. RTOERO plans to conduct the survey annually to track education sector retirement planning trends over time.
RTOERO is a bilingual trusted voice on healthy, active living in the retirement journey for the broader education community. With 82,000 members in 51 districts across Canada, RTOERO is the largest national provider of non-profit group health benefits for education retirees. It welcomes members who work in or are retired from the early years, schools and school boards, post-secondary and any other capacity in education.