One reason may be that people “are living longer, healthier lives” and probably fewer are dying young. But another is that, starting in the 1990s, faculty have been working longer. Between fall 1992 and 1998—with the end of mandatory retirement coming in 1994— the percentage of departures by fulltime faculty because of retirement declined, giving “one of our first clues that faculty were beginning to delay retirement,” Martin Conley said.
The age structure of the faculty at UC Berkeley, for example, shows an unmistakable trend toward growth among the oldest cohorts, according to data that Goulden supplied (see Figure 4-3). In 1979, faculty members under 34 years of age numbered 140 and those over 60, only 173. In 2013, the 97 faculty members over 70 outnumbered the 92 between 30 and 34, with only 11 aged below 30, as opposed to 52 in that youngest age bracket in 1979. Today, the 342 faculty members between 60 and 69 substantially outnumber the 253 between 30 and 39.
As faculty move into the later years of their careers, “retirement planning…moves to the forefront” in preparation for what Janette Brown, executive director of both the Emeriti Center at the University of Southern California (USC) and the Association of Retirement Organizations in Higher Education (AROHE), calls “the new life stage, which is roughly between the ages of 60 and 85.”
Figure 4-3 UC-Berkeley faculty headcount by age: academic years 1979-80—2013-14.
NOTE: Data for academic year 2013-14 is preliminary.
SOURCE: UCB Faculty Personnel Records, AY 1979-80—2013-14. Prepared by Goulden, September 2013; updated October 2013.