Employers in a recent survey overwhelmingly said they favor keeping workers past retirement age.

Only 4 percent of the 412 employers surveyed believe that employees who postpone their retirement will be a negative for companies, whereas 45 percent anticipate that protracted careers will yield a positive result for employers.

“Although some companies will continue to offer buyouts and retirement packages to their older staff, our survey suggests that many businesses will be pleased to retain selected Boomer employees,” said BMO Retirement Services director of relationship management Todd Perala. “There appears to be a growing recognition in corporate America that employees in their sixties possess valuable institutional experience and expertise.”

Perala noted that older employees were once widely perceived to create a greater burden on a company’s health plan, limit the job opportunities of younger workers and be less proficient using new technologies. “Despite these common perceptions, our findings suggest that a significant contingent of today's companies see value in maximizing experience,” he said.

The survey also found that nearly a quarter of the employers polled estimate that the percentage of working Boomers who delay their retirement could exceed 50 percent in the years ahead. Nearly half of respondents predict that more than 30 percent of Boomers will fall into this category.

Perala acknowledged that some Boomers may be forced to work longer because they have too little in savings, but he believes many others find work to be personally fulfilling. “As life spans increase, retirement at age 65 may increasingly be seen by employers and employees alike as a relic from the prior century,” he said.