By Leon Lowder
For the Bureau of Global Talent Management’s Office of Retirement (RET), 2021 was a banner year with 837 State Foreign Service and Civil Service employees retiring—the highest annual number on record.
This increase reversed the temporary decline in departures that occurred in 2020 and resumed the longer trend of a steady rising number of retirees from year to year. Informal surveys taken by recent retirees suggested that employees are retiring for a variety of reasons. For example, some who postponed planned 2020 retirements due to the pandemic decided to act in 2021. Others expressed their decision to depart in 2021 in terms of quality-of-life goals, like spending more time with family.
The wave created a challenge for RET to process a record number of departees.
“It remains profoundly important that each employee, annuitant, and their family members receive the utmost customer service from the Office of Retirement,” said Office Director Edward Capers Jr.
Government watchers have long predicted a wave of retirements as Baby Boomers reach retirement age. Although this has yet to materialize, the Federal government and the Department of State will be faced with a significant proportion of its workforce reaching retirement eligibility in the years ahead.
What happens in 2022 remains to be seen, but whatever the numbers, RET’s modest team of 30 human resources professionals remain dedicated to helping Foreign Service and Civil Service employees navigate the complex, federally regulated, paperwork rich, retirement process to a successful conclusion of their careers.
Leon Lowder is deputy director of the Bureau of Global Talent Management’s Office of Retirement.