Nature's Virginia Gewin this week says that "academics who delay retirement could create roadblocks for early-career researchers." Graeme Hugo at the University of Adelaide in Australia tells Gewin that more than half of the academic workforce is over 50 years old. So, while Hugo says he expects around 40 percent of that workforce to retire in the next decade, Gewin says that will not produce the ideal situation for young academics because as faculty members delay their retirements, "increasingly, vacated permanent posts are divided into contractual, non-tenure-track jobs."
Harvard University's Cathy Trower says that "the pipeline isn't emptying like administrations thought it would," as academics delay their retirements. Frances Rosenbluth at Yale University says that "there is not going to be any massive wave of retirements for a while — we've got 20 years to wait for the anaconda bulge of baby boomers to work itself out."
Overall, Gewin says, "the recession has only exacerbated a growing trend towards deferring retirements; no one expects a retirement boom, even if the economy improves."