Early retirement will fuel skills shortage

A combination of years of hard work and inherent ageism are taking their
toll, as the number of accountancy professionals looking to take early
retirement appears to be increasing.

Two thirds of the 2,232 respondents to the latest Accountancy
/Robert Half Finance and Accounting salary and benefits survey said they
wanted to retire by the time they reach 60, and 28% of the sample did not want
to work beyond 55.

More than one in 10 accountants in London could not see themselves working
past 50.

But the survey also raised some troubling questions about the reasons behind
the desire to leave the profession.

An overwhelming 60% of respondents said that the accountancy profession
discriminated against those over 50, prompting concerns that widespread ageism
could result in a massive brain drain among the industry’s most experienced

Three quarters do not believe the statutory retirement age should be extended
to 67, despite calls for a reform of the UK’s pension system.

Nearly one quarter of managers and personnel professionals surveyed
separately by the Chartered Management Institute admitted that age had an impact
on their own recruitment decisions, even though age discrimination legislation
is just a year away from being introduced.

Over half believed that staff between the ages of 30 and 39 had the best
promotion prospects, with only 2% citing those aged 50 or older.

CMI head of public affairs Petra Cook said that the onus was on employees to
take some responsibility for creating new challenges.

‘But for this to happen, organisations have to adapt to ensure that older
workers are treated as an asset and offered flexibility,’ she added.

Related reading