SAGE Newsletter April 2012


Here Comes the S-AGE!

The following is another excerpt in our series of excerpts from the soon-to-be-released book – WORK!

This month’s excerpt is from the chapter about part-time “Captives” and Phasers.

This is the era when competition has made it probable that most organizations will manage staffing as a variable cost. One way to accomplish cost goals while safeguarding productivity is to change the definition of the regular, full-time workweek.
- Carleen MacKay

It has come to pass that the McKinsey Global Institute recently found that 58% percent of 2000 companies surveyed expect to have more part-time, temporary or contract workers. Likewise, Manpower also recently surveyed 41,000 organizations and found that 25% have strategic initiatives for managing a variable-flexible workforce. Not to be out quoted, Kelly Services confirms that about a third of American workers are not working in regular full-time “jobs.” The temp and free agent world is doing quite well, thank you.

These, and other, changes do not suggest that only contingent workers will help to manage costs. One of the latest trends to watch is the reconfiguring of traditional work-weeks.

We invite you to look at the following options now before decisions are made by others that, had you understood the mutual advantages of a different perspective of standard workweeks, you might have influenced outcomes and optimized your investment in your career.

Who are the Part-Time “Captive” Workers and Phasers?

In this context, part-time “captive” workers are integral members of the core team who maintain regular, part-time hours. For those who work 32 hours, benefits are likely to be a standard part of their package. While some firms have modified the minimum hours to 24 (with benefits), most have not, as yet. One exception is Hawaii where, when people meet certain specific requirements, 20 hours is enough to qualify them for insurance benefits. For those working less than 24 or 32 hours, healthcare benefits, in the short term, are unlikely to be a part of their package although they may retain other benefits, depending upon the employer and the state in which they are employed.

Phasers are part of the core team during the later or last stages of their careers. The process of phasing begins by cutting standard working hours to 32 while the phasers retain all benefits of employment. It is during this time that transfer of knowledge and mentoring programs offer exciting opportunities for phasers, the emerging workforce, and the organizations they serve.

Phased retirement in the educational sector is well established with details worked out well in advance of any such arrangement. From the educational institution’s perspective, the phased retirement option must be workable for both parties. If the phased retirement proves to be unworkable (it is rarely unworkable) from the institution’s standpoint, it is not offered as an option. Typically, but not universally, people who are age 55 or older and who have completed 10 years of service are eligible for consideration of phased retirement when they initiate the request for phasing.

Phasing is gaining in acceptance in private sector organizations because both organizations and researchers from the Stanford Center on Longevity, AARP, and the MIT Age Lab and Demographic experts across the nation have reminded us that older workers continue to learn and to contribute much later than once imagined.

Our very economy is dependent upon coming to grips with changing perspectives of chronological age; perspectives that are hangovers from the 20th century and bear little resemblance to 21st century realities. In simple words, many organizations need people to continue in some capacity because there are far too few, qualified people in the immediate next generation to take their place and because good talent and good minds are bad things to waste!

Think of how powerful a phased approach to leaving full-time work might be for you. You gain the time to develop other interests while avoiding the abrupt plunge off the high board of the work pool into a future you don’t understand and for which you are underprepared.

Is it time for you to consider “teaching” your organization’s leaders about the advantages of changing the definition of a regular workweek or phasing?


There are now more people with dogs (43 million) than with new babies!


Using the most conservative numbers we can find, we are still down 7.5 million “jobs” since the January 2008. Do the math!

Divide the number of jobs lost by the 36,000 net new job growth and it is 17 years before we get back to pre-crash levels. This, of course, does not allow for another recession at any year in between.


By 2030, 18 percent of Americans will be 65 and older, the Pew Research Center projects.
Most will not have pensions.

The question is bigger than who is working (or not) today; the question is can we keep people earning, in some capacity, for longer than in the past? Re-read this month’s topic for ideas about how you might continue to work in your energetic maturity.