Make It

Many millennials expect to work until they die

Worried you'll never be able to retire?

If you're a millennial, you're not alone, according to a global survey of adults aged 20 to 34 by Manpower Group, a staffing company.

Faced with big piles of student debt, pricey housing and sluggish wage growth, many young adults doubt they'll be able to retire like much of their parent's generation. More than a third expect to work well into their 70s. About 1 in 8 said they figure they'll have to work until they die.


Among the countries surveyed, millennial retirement expectations are lowest in Japan, where more than a third of young adults say they plan to work until the end of their lives.

Those expectations are in stark contrast to the working history of their parents' generation. While more than a third of Japanese millennials expect to work for the rest of their lives, fewer than 1 in 5 of their parent's generation is working past the age of 65.

In the U.S., millennials are somewhat more optimistic about quitting work at some point, with only 12 percent seeing retirement out of reach. Just 17 percent of American boomers aged 65 or older are still working.

In Spain, France, Germany, Italy and Greece, roughly 15 percent or fewer millennials have given up on the idea of retiring. That may be because, among those currently aged 65 or over, roughly 5 percent or fewer are still working.

Millennials are already working hard, with nearly three-quarters reporting that they work more than 40 hours a week. About a quarter say they're holding down more than one paid job.

And while they may have doubts about retiring for good, millennials plan to take breaks from work as they get older. Some 61 percent of women — and just 32 percent of men — expect to take time off for the birth of a child. Millennial women are also more likely than men to cite child care and caring for a parent or relative as a reason for taking a break from work.

It's not clear from the survey whether millennials plan to work forever because they want to or because they think they'll have to for financial reasons.

Whatever the reason, there will be plenty of jobs for them as the labor force ages. As of this year, millennials make up the largest share of the workforce, a trend that will continue for decades. In just four years, millennials will make up about 35 percent of the labor force, while boomers will account for just 6 percent.