University faculty are putting off retirement longer than they ever have, causing a dramatic stir within higher education. According to a 2012 study conducted by TIAA, a leading retirement company for education professionals, the proportion of professors ages 65 and older doubled between 2000 and 2010.* This is in large part due to the 1994 congressional elimination of mandatory retirement of tenured faculty and staff.†
The number of professors delaying retirement has swelled due to many factors, such as a weakened economy, increased life expectancy, and overall job satisfaction. These are valid reasons to remain in the workforce and are representative of many seasoned professors. However, this situation is also impeding the hiring and advancement of younger staff, especially those who graduate with a higher education degree.
So what should be done about this situation? There is no clear answer; however, here are just a few of the pros and cons of an aging professoriate.
Fortunately, even with the issue of retirement, employment of postsecondary teachers, such as those graduating from higher education master’s programs, is projected to grow 13% from 2014–2024.†† If you’re interested in a career in higher education, consider the convenience an online university provides. When you earn your MS in Higher Education from Walden, you can rest assured that you’re earning a degree from a high-quality university.
*TIAA-CREF Institute, An Age of Opportunity, Aging Workforce Series, on the Internet at www.tiaa.org/public/pdf/aging_workforce_part1.pdf.
†A. Franke, Supporting the Culminating Stages of Faculty Careers: Legal Issues, American Council on Education, on the Internet at www.acenet.edu/leadership/programs/Documents/SLOAN-report-FINAL-legal.pdf.
‡Times Higher Education, Are Older Academics Past Their Productive Peak?, on the Internet at www.timeshighereducation.com/features/are-older-academics-past-their-productive-peak.
§J. Marcus, Aging Faculty Who Won’t Leave Thwart Universities’ Attempts to Cut Costs, The Hechinger Report, 9 October 2015, on the Internet www.hechingerreport.org/aging-faculty-who-wont-leave-thwart-universities-attempts-to-cut-costs.
**C. Flaherty, Working Way Past 65, Inside Higher Ed, on the Internet at www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/06/17/data-suggest-baby-boomer-faculty-are-putting-retirement.
††Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016–17 Edition, Postsecondary Teachers, on the Internet at www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm.
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