By Scott Anderson

A variety of reasons are behind many Canadians’ decision to work past the age of 65. Among the many reasons are the general demise of defined benefit pension plans, greater debt levels in retirement and lower savings levels.

But here is something else to think about. As many as 38 percent of seniors choose to work longer because they want to. They are still very active, and at age 65 they still get fulfillment and joy from their work. They also feel they have contributions to make.

For their part, employers who recognize the positives of the delayed retirement trend are taking proactive steps. Some offer seniors specific positions or benefits. Others offer fitness and wellness seminars catering to older employees’ health needs. And still others are creative in their employment arrangements, enabling employees to collect their pension but return to work as part-timers or as independent contractors. Through such arrangements, employers are better able to develop young workers for future positions by having older workers share their knowledge and expertise.

What employers shouldn’t do is buy into myths about older workers – that they’re less productive, and not open to change or training. Statistics show older employees have a strong desire to remain relevant in the workplace. While physical ability can diminish with age, intellectual capacity remains strong. And the longer they’re productive, the better.

As employees approach retirement age, they’re increasingly regarding retirement as a staged event, one they’d like to enter gradually, instead of leaving work all at once. Statistics Canada shows Baby Boomers prefer a challenging workplace, and training for employees between the ages of 55 to 65 has doubled over the last 20 years.

With all of the reports of employers not being able to find good talent, many are actually targeting seniors because of the untapped knowledge and experience they bring to the workforce. They’re doing that through targeted ads in seniors’ publications, increasing internal referral efforts and letting recruitment firms know of their interest to hire older workers.

Delayed retirement is a trend that’s not slowing down. Employers who take advantage of it as an unexplored opportunity may be surprised at the positive results the business and employees alike will experience.

HUB International’s retirement plan fiduciary advisors provide ongoing guidance on your plan’s setup and management to ensure it meets regulatory compliance guidelines and the interests of your employees.