Canadians split on continuing to work after retirement – survey

seniors_at- workWould you work if you didn’t have to? This is a question most people nearing retirement are asked in Canada.

A recent survey from Monster Canada found that nearly half of Canadians (47 per cent) would be likely to continue working, even if they didn’t need to. On the other hand, an almost equal number of Canadians (49 per cent) reported they’d leave their work life behind.

“These survey findings show that Canadians are split as to whether they’d want work to be a part of their lives, if they had the choice,” says Sheryl Boswell, Director of Marketing at Monster Canada. “At Monster, we believe you should love what you do and that work doesn’t have to feel like ‘work’. If work is something that you have to do, it’s possible to find a role that you enjoy.”

Turning a passion project into a career
The survey, conducted by Leger, also revealed that for those Canadians who would opt to continue working, more than half (53 per cent) would pursue a job that complements their passions. Only one-third (33 per cent) would choose to continue working in their current field.

“It’s not surprising that if given the option, many Canadians would prefer working in a field that aligns more closely with their personal interests,” says Boswell. “But even those who felt they’d be unlikely to continue working in the traditional sense may end up finding themselves seeking out activities that qualify as work – be it photography, writing, baking, or website design.”

Looking for less time on-the-clock
While many Canadians would continue working, the leading preference for many would not involve a full work week. Nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of respondents who said they’d keep working indicated they’d do so on a part-time basis, with the second most-popular option being freelance (15 per cent). The 40-hour work week was less popular, with just 13 per cent selecting a full-time arrangement, while the least-preferred option was working in a seasonal capacity (eight per cent).

The desire to work part-time also spans many income brackets – 66 per cent of respondents who report an annual income of more than $100,000 indicate they’d keep working part-time.

“For many working professionals, it’s not uncommon to feel that there aren’t enough hours in the day,” says Boswell. “There are employers who help offset this through a demonstrated commitment to work-life balance. But part-time positions can offer the fulfillment that many seek in their careers, while affording the time needed to attend to life’s many responsibilities.”

Differing preferences among genders
The survey revealed some notable differences between how men and women would approach work if they didn’t need to have a job. For instance, men are more likely than women to indicate they’d want to continue working if they didn’t have to (53 per cent compared to 41 per cent). Further, men are more likely than women to want to pursue a job that complements their passions (60 per cent compared to 45 per cent).

Conversely, of those who’d choose to continue working, women are considerably more likely than men to be drawn to a part-time arrangement (72 per cent compared to 56 per cent).

Younger generations more likely to work if they didn’t have to
Generationally, millennials are the group most likely to want to keep clocking in for the work day. Six in 10 (60 per cent) Canadians aged 18-34 said they’d be likely to continue working if they didn’t have to, while this number drops among older generations (50 per cent among Canadians aged 35-44, 52 per cent among those aged 45-54, and 36 per cent of those aged 55-64).

Millennials are also the most drawn to a job that complements their passions, with two-thirds (66 per cent) selecting this option. Work is a part of most of our lives from the time we’re young adults until retirement – it can be hard not to dream of a life in which we don’t need to work to live,” says Boswell. “Not all of us live to work, but there can be a happy medium – a career we find both fulfilling and interesting. Those jobs are out there, if you know where to look.”

For job search advice or tips on how to find better in your professional life, visit career-advice.monster.ca.

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