Document Type


Publication Date



During the first decade of the 21st century, significant attention has been paid to the widely anticipated retirement of the Baby Boom generation from the U.S. workforce. Employers and policymakers have considered important questions such as:

  • What percentage of older workers are likely to retire on a full-time basis between the ages of 62-65?
  • What might the implications of a “mass exodus” of Baby Boomers mean for different types of businesses?
  • Which types of policies and practices might encourage some older workers to extend their labor force participation, thereby enabling employers to retain the knowledge and skills of these experienced workers?

Of course, older workers are also engaged in conversations about workplace innovations that might offer them more employment and employment-to-retirement choices. Surveys consistently find that older workers (particularly those aged 50 and older) plan to work past the traditional retirement ages of 62-65 years. However, the majority of older workers indicate that they would prefer not to work on a full-time or year round basis. As indicated by Figure 1 below, a recent Merrill Lynch Survey conducted by Harris Interactive & Dychtwald (2006) found that 38% of Baby Boomers would like to be able to cycle in and out of work.


Prepared on behave of Workplace Flexibility 2010 by Chantel Sheaks, J.D., Georgetown University Law Center, Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes, PhD., Boston College, and Michael A. Smyer, PhD., Boston College.