Are older public sector employees speeding up their retirement plans in light of cutbacks and pension criticism? The New York Times argues in a recent (and lengthy) article that older workers simply feel they have little reason to stick around anymore as budget woes continue to take their toll at the state and local level and many workers say they don’t want to be scapegoats. California is pointed to as a prime example and it is reported that CalPERS has experienced an increasing retirement rate over the last five fiscal years. The Times notes:
“But increasingly workers fear a permanent shift away from the traditional security of government jobs, and they are making plans to get out now, before salaries and retirement benefits retreat further.”
While many governments have benefited from shedding workers through cost-savings, others have found themselves not only short on staff members but also short on expertise and valuable knowledge possessed by older workers.
Nevertheless, some experts contend it’s far too early to conclude that the nation is experiencing any trend with respect to public sector retirement and some data indicates rates have stayed relatively stable. Furthermore, one has to take into the account the recession, as many workers have even delayed retirement due to the poor economy and hesitance to move.
Public Sector, Inc., which is affiliated with the Manhattan Institute, has criticized the New York Times article in a post that reads: “The two surveys cited in the piece show that while some workers are speeding up their retirement, many are choosing to delay it. And in 2008, when the recession first hit, many workers decided to stay put for a few more years. Second, aside from a few anecdotal quotes, there is little to suggest that the primary cause for most workers is displeasure with states' requiring more furlough days, salary freezes, and greater contributions to pension and health benefits.” Read more of the outfit’s criticisms here.