With the number of Australians expecting to work past 70 having doubled since 2006, the nations' retirement plans are in a state of flux, and lawyers are no exception.
Two in five people aged 40-65 surveyed by Mercer have changed their retirement plans due to the economic downturn and its effect on their retirement savings, with 60 per cent of those aged 60 and over also making changes.
In the survey, based on interviews with 519 Australian workers, 19 per cent of respondents said the impact of the financial crisis meant their working lives would be extended by six years or more.
Joanne Glanz from Mahlab Recruitment said that while every law firm has different rules on retirement, she believed there would be desire on the part of lawyers to stay in their jobs for longer.
"In this climate of uncertainly ... more senior partners would definitely like to stay on, but whether that is a viable situation based on declining practices... I don't know," she told Lawyers Weekly.
"I think this is a situation that is still in a state of flux. Had we not had a global recession ... there would have been a lot more open-mindedness about senior people staying on. I mean you see it in so many other industries, but I think we are in a situation where everyone is trying to cut costs, cut overheads, reduce staff and make opportunities for those they want to keep, so you have two competing [strategies] going on there."
Meanwhile, one in three surveyed said they would need up to four additional years in the workforce to allow for a comfortable retirement.
The Mercer survey also found the gap between the desired retirement age and the expected retirement age amongst Australians is an average of six years. The average retirement age is 58, the average expected retirement age is 64.
The Rudd Government announced in May that the qualifying age for the pension would be increased to 67.
- Sarah Sharples