MRO Magazine

Will job strain make you retire early?

Ottawa, ON -- Job strain, caused by a combination of a heavy workload, time constraints, conflicting demands and la...


Human Resources

August 26, 2005
By MRO Magazine

Ottawa, ON — Job strain, caused by a combination of a heavy workload, time constraints, conflicting demands and lack of control, may be an overlooked factor in the decision to retire.

Indeed, even after a long career, some individuals in certain occupations may delay retirement for the simple reason that they enjoy their work (because they are able to balance demands with the power to make decisions). On the other hand, many workers who feel stressed and dissatisfied with their job may feel they cannot retire too soon, according to a new study.

Using the National Population Health Survey, this Statistics Canada study examines whether older workers (aged 45 to 57 in 1994) who experience high job strain will be more likely to retire than those who do not feel the same pressure at work.

The study found that, between 1996 and 2002, older workers in managerial, professional or technical jobs with high job strain were much more likely to retire early than those with low job strain.

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However, for sales, services, clerical and blue-collar occupations, job strain was not related to retirement.

Because managers, professionals and technicians have higher levels of education, they may expect their job to offer a fair amount of latitude and a chance to use their competencies and professional skills. In addition, since managers, professionals and technicians generally have higher incomes and are more likely to be covered by a pension plan, those in high-pressure jobs may be less hesitant to retire.

If job strain can be mitigated by the ability to balance demands with the power to make decisions, older workers may be more inclined to continue working.