Professor Mary Dean Lee releases Executive Report on Reinvention of Retirement Study


Published: 10Mar2011

Baby Boomers have been bucking social convention and defining new market trends since the 1960s. 

Now they're reinventing retirement as well, a new study shows.

The study, based on in-depth interviews with 106 managers and executives from a variety of companies and industries across Canada, sheds light on how Baby Boom managers and corporate leaders are crafting their pathways out of firms and forging new models of retirement.

The research -- led by Prof. Mary Dean Lee at McGill University's Desautels Faculty of Management, with colleagues from McGill and York University in Canada, and Queensland University and University of Melbourne in Australia - highlights the complexity of how managers are approaching the later stages of life.

"Even among those eager to maintain engagement in some kind of productive activity after formal retirement, there is a strong inclination toward activities that are relaxing and restorative and involve increased engagement with family,"  according to a preliminary report on the findings.  "There is considerable evidence that many managers are inspired to find new ways to contribute but on their own terms, whether through continued full employment or creating new pathways."

The study also points to a need for companies and other institutions to discard conventional expectations about how managers will end their careers and spend their retirement.

Employers, universities and community organizations "are in a position to generate more options for late-career and retired managers," the preliminary report concludes.  A more flexible and creative approach could harness the "impressive skills and experience this cohort of managers could bring to problem-solving of all kinds in many settings; and new venues could be created to facilitate more mentoring and nurturing of leaders of the next generation."

The preliminary report of the study's findings is being distributed to participants in the study.  A more technical report, as well as scholarly articles, are in progress.

See attached Executive Summary Report [.pdf].