Retirement & Financial Planning Report

The rise in “gig” type jobs—those without the types of benefits that come with traditional employment—is continuing and the factors contributing to it could especially impact the prospects of older persons looking for new work, says the Center for Retirement Research.

The report could have implications for federal employees, many of whom look for other work after retiring from the government. In some cases that’s to continue building up credits toward Social Security benefits or their retirement savings, and in some to supplement their annuity income.

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However, gig-type jobs commonly do not come with health insurance benefits or an employer contribution toward Social Security—meaning the worker must pay that share as well as their own—nor employer contributions toward retirement savings plans—if they offer such plans at all.

The report said that according to how such nontraditional jobs are defined, they now account for around 8-20 percent of all jobs, but under any definition that number has increased over the last two decades and especially in the later years of that period. That is true across all age groups although the youngest group in the study, those under age 34, have always been the most likely to hold such positions.

The study found that automation is a factor in the rise, adding that “the share of older workers in nontraditional jobs is higher in states where automation is more prevalent.”

Said the report, “Continuing growth in automation may reduce workers’ bargaining power, which could allow employers to offer more lower-quality jobs. Older workers who have trouble extending their careers in traditional employment may find that they have to settle for jobs that do not include retirement saving and health insurance benefits, underscoring the need for alternative sources of coverage to help workers obtain a secure retirement.”

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