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Communications of the ACM

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'Queue Jumpers' Who Retire Early Are Catching Companies Off Guard

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Employees are less likely to consider retirement if they are valued and management support is high.

More healthy older workers in Australia are leaving their jobs earlier than in previous generations, creating consequences for their employers. These "queue jumpers," defined as healthy workers aged 50-plus who are preparing to leave unsupportive organizations well before they reach the official retirement age of 67.

That's the consensus from a study published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior identifying a shift in retirement intentions among many healthy older adults who can support themselves financially.

"In the past, health, wealth, workplace-related factors, and family variables were major predictors of retirement," but an awareness of the passage of time is also a factor, says co-author Professor Carol Kulik from the University of South Australia. "They become less concerned with future work goals and more interested in the present."

That awareness is greatest among healthy older workers who are not supported by their line managers. If workplaces do not value older employees, they risk losing experienced, older, and productive workers, the study says.

From University of South Australia
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