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Factors Behind Early Retirement

Factors Behind Early RetirementAs early retirement appears to be on the upswing, a new study investigates the factors that precipitate the decision to leave the workforce.

Researchers discovered poor health is the most important reason why workers decide to take early retirement, but factors such as high work pressure and low job satisfaction also play a role.

The study is reported in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).

Added support and changes in leadership style might help to delay retirement in highly skilled older workers, according to the study by Tilja I.J. van den Berg, M.Sc., and colleagues of Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

In a review of eight previous studies, poor health was the factor most consistently related to early retirement.

Several other work-related factors also seemed to play a role, including high physical work demands, high work pressure, and low job satisfaction.

The study also included focus group interviews with older workers in the printing industry—which has a highly skilled but rapidly aging workforce. The printers agreed that poor health would make them consider retiring early.

Other factors that could push them toward early retirement included heavy work load, shiftwork, and lack of support from coworkers and management.

When asked about incentives that would encourage them to postpone retirement, the workers mentioned increased support from coworkers and appreciation from management.

Since they appreciated the importance of good health in preventing early retirement, they also mentioned steps that would help them to stay fit, such as access to a worksite gym.

Especially in industries with highly qualified technical jobs, companies need information on what factors may “push” valued older employees toward early retirement, as well as factors that can “pull” them toward staying on the job.

The new study identifies health- and work-related factors leading to early retirement, along with factors that could help to keep valued older workers on the job—sometimes as simple as a “pat on the back” to express appreciation.

“Postponing early retirement could be facilitated by reducing workload, increasing social support from colleagues, appreciative and supportive leadership, and health promotion,” the researchers write.

Source: American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM)

Factors Behind Early Retirement

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Factors Behind Early Retirement. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 24, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 14 Jun 2010)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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