Recession prompts financial executives to rethink retirement,

Executives may be spending more of their golden years on the job than on the golf course, a new study suggests. In fact, more than half (52 percent) of chief financial officers (CFOs) surveyed recently stated that they are delaying or reconsidering their retirement plans. The majority (62 percent) who intend to extend their working years attribute the change in plans to the economy.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources. It was conducted by an independent research firm from December 17, 2008 to January 14, 2009, and is based on interviews with more than 1,400 CFOs across the United States.

CFOs were asked, "How, if at all, have your retirement plans changed in the last five years?" Their responses:

Your retirement plans have not changed 43%
You plan to spend more time working than you did five years ago 27%
You have more uncertainty and cannot predict when you will retire 25%
You plan to spend fewer years working than you had intended five years ago 5%

CFOs who plan to spend more years working also were asked, "Which one of the following is the primary reason your retirement plans have changed?"

Their responses:

The economy (e.g., stock market, 401(k)) 62%
You plan to spend more time working than you did five years ago 27%
Social security concerns 11%
Healthcare system 10%
Change in family needs 9%
Renewed desire for the stimulation work provides 2%
Other 2%
Don't know/no answer 4%

"Employers may reap unexpected benefits from experienced workers who delay retirement, as their deep knowledge and skills will remain available to the firm," said Paul McDonald, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources. "Even in a weak economy, companies must be mindful of retaining tenured staff by offering benefits they value, such as greater scheduling flexibility or part-time employment."

McDonald noted that not everyone planning to stay in the workforce may want to put in a 40-hour week. "Firms could also engage the increasing pool of experienced workers as consultants or project professionals to provide cost-effective solutions to staffing concerns."

About the Survey

The national study was developed by Robert Half Management Resources. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on more than 1,400 telephone interviews with CFOs from a random sample of U.S. companies with 20 or more employees. For the study to be statistically representative and ensure that companies from all segments are represented, the sample was stratified by geographic region and number of employees. The results were then weighted to reflect the proper proportion of employees within each region.

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