The changing world of work…and retirement

As a part of the 2020 Trends series, “The changing world of work...and retirement” offers insight & projections from thought leaders for the decade of the 2020s.

Article 4 of 4 from “The 2020s: A decade of workplace challenges and opportunities" research paper produced by Voya Financial.

To effectively plan for the decade, Voya Financial set out to understand factors impacting the ability to achieve financial wellness and retirement readiness. We sought out thought leaders on retirement and workplace issues to provide their predictions and expectations for how the decade of the 2020s would unfold in a variety of areas pertaining to the workforce.

We’ve created a series of four blog posts outlining our key findings and learnings:

Read on for the fourth installment in the series: The changing world of work…and retirement

The decade of the 2020s will clearly pose major challenges to those seeking to help American workers achieve financial security throughout retirement. But challenges may be balanced with advances in technology and other innovations that will yield positive results.

In the words of thought leaders

“More people will know exactly how much they need to retire how they want, when they want and companies will get MUCH better at helping them ascertain that answer. Why? Because it is the ultimate goal of our industry, and new services and technologies are finally starting to address this in a meaningful manner using the right techniques for both the accumulation AND distribution phase.”

The evolution of the workforce

Due to the timing of this survey, it may not be surprisingly that half (51%) of panelists said it was at least very likely that more than half of workers would work from home or in shared spaces at least two days a week by 2030.

In the words of thought leaders

“There will be a larger increase in home office work. I look for office sharing and meeting space rentals to increase. With the concerns over disease, the cost of maintaining office space, the desire for people to have flexible work hours and the ability to communicate via webinars and virtual meetings, there will be a demand for this.”

More than six in ten of those surveyed later, when the COVID crisis had advanced further, said increased telecommuting was very likely to happen.

Working longer. Retiring later.

Most thought leaders believe it is very likely employees will work longer before retiring. Sixty-eight percent expected that the median retirement age will increase from age 62 to 65 by 2030. In addition to workers retiring later, almost two-thirds also believe that it is very likely that the percent of retirees that continue to work after retiring from their primary career will increase from 30% to 50%.

50% of “retirees” expected to continue working after they retire from their primary career.


This trend is not surprising given the other trends panelists predict. The pressure on entitlements, economic uncertainty and increased challenges in retirement will likely make it more challenging for workers to retire than in earlier periods. Furthermore, an increasingly robust defined contribution system may reward workers more for staying in their jobs longer.

To ease the transition to retirement for both the employee and the workplace, half (53%) of thought leaders believe that it is at least very likely that more employers will offer phased retirement programs with flexible schedules. At the same time, baby boomers leaving the workforce will open opportunities for younger workers.

In the words of thought leaders

 “The ‘retirement’ of the boomers! … Hard to predict what this will mean in terms of the workforce, but with the boomers out of the workplace, this should open new pathways for the younger generations.”

Nearly 8 in 10 (80%) believe that more workers will participate in a growing gig economy than do now. Gig jobs involve temporary work and alternative arrangements that may not be subject to a firm retirement date.


To dive deeper into The 2020s: A decade of change and challenge view the ebook or read additional articles from our series:


Source: The 2020s: A decade of workplace challenges and opportunities – Views from thought leaders.  Produced by Voya Research and Insights and Greenwald Research, March, 2021

For plan sponsor/TPA, Institutional use only. Not for public distribution.

Research material is provided for general and educational purposes only.

Products and services offered through the Voya® family of companies.

Mathew Greenwald and Associates is not affiliated with the Voya® family of companies.