Federal retirements on the rise: StatsCan

Exodus of baby boomer public servants has begun

The rate at which federal public servants are retiring has tripled since the start of the millenium, according to a study by Statistics Canada.

The study, Federal Public Service Retirement: Trends in the New Millennium, found 1.6 per cent (1,986) of federal public servants retired in the fiscal year 2000/2001. That proportion jumped to 3.3 per cent in 2006/2007 with 5,495 retirements.

The study only looked at permanent employees covered by the Public Service Employment Act, which excludes employees of separate agencies, such as the Canada Revenue Agency, Crown corporations and members of the Canadian Forces and the RCMP.

The wave of retirements is a bigger concern in the federal public service than in the labour force as a whole because public servants are 5.3 years older on average than workers in the general labour force and they also tend to retire 3.2 years earlier, according to the study.

As of early 2007, about eight per cent of the federal public service workforce could retire immediately without penalty, double the four per cent who could retire six years earlier. Another 25 per cent of the workforce is eligible to retire in the next five years.

One-third of retiring employees in 2006/2007 did so within the year they became eligible, while 25 per cent retired an average of 2.5 years before they were eligible.

In 2006/2007, the average age of retirement was 58.4. Workers retired with an average of 29.2 years of pensionable service.

Baby boomers are the driving force behind current retirements. In the fiscal year 2006/2007, they made up two-thirds of the workforce and two-thirds of retirements.

The study also found that the proportion of retirees who were women increased from 40 per cent in 2000/2001 to 47 per cent in 2006/2007. Women tended to retire having had longer careers than in the past and the gap in years of pensionable service between men and women has narrowed from 7.2 years to 3.4 years since the start of the millennium.

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