Retirement & Financial Planning Report

More people are voluntarily changing jobs relatively late in their careers—age 50 and later–and those people in turn are likely to continue working longer than those who don’t change, according to a study by the Center for Retirement Research.

That contrasts with persons who involuntarily lose their jobs at those ages, who “often have difficulty finding employment; earn significantly less in a new job; and are twice as likely as otherwise similar workers to retire by any given age.”


The study said that for example the percentage of men who changed jobs at or after 50 rose from 35 percent in 1983 to the 40-45 percent range in recent years.

The report said that changing jobs was associated with more than a 9 percentage point increase in a person’s likelihood of continuing to work at age 65. That was the strongest correlation of the factors that it considered as possibly driving a longer career, almost twice the impact of still having a mortgage to pay off.

“Late-career job changes have become more common over the past several decades at the same time that working longer has become more necessary. The rise in job-changing appears to be largely voluntary, with workers likely moving to jobs that they consider better. This behavior could extend the careers of these workers, thereby improving their retirement pros¬pects,” it said.

“However, job changers also give up the protec¬tion that tenure provides against layoffs and risk a bad match that could lead to an early exit from the labor force. The results clearly indicate that the first effect dominates,” it adds.

In contrast, “having long tenure at a job with a defined benefit pension – often a sign of higher available income once retired – is associated with earlier retirement, as is having more adverse health conditions or initially having a blue-collar job.”