(3 of 3)
Pensions pose some of the biggest challenges for companies that want to keep older employees. The Internal Revenue Service prohibits employers from distributing pension payments to workers still on the job. And since many companies base the size of the pension on the worker's last two years of employment, outright retirement at a career peak is much smarter financially than phasing down to a lesser-paying bridge job. While some companies rehire retirees as independent contractors, "what's more likely to happen is, people will simply leave a job and then bridge with another employer," says Ken Dychtwald, co-author of Workforce Crisis.
Meanwhile, the companies that are finding ways to hang on to their older workers benefit from an intangible, perhaps undervalued commodity: wisdom. At Shell, Markway is creating a strategy for updated safety standards gleaned from his decades of experience. "With the demographic cliff we're facing, it's doubly important for us to pass on our collective knowledge to the young guys coming up," he says. "At this rate, I figure I'll work another few years." Full-time sailing will have to wait.