Over the past few years, we’ve witnessed a dramatic workforce shift. Baby boomers are retiring, while millennials and Gen Z are taking over workplaces across the country. Data shows that these generations of workers are changing jobs every three to four years, on average. The reality is that employers, including the State of North Dakota, will need to adjust for this reality to be competitive.
The legislature is currently discussing the state employee’s retirement system, debating whether to implement a 401k-style retirement plan for all new hires or maintain the default pension plan. The primary issue is the ongoing cost of maintaining a pension plan with a current $1.9 billion unfunded liability versus implementing a more portable, market-adjustable plan. While this decision remains firmly with the legislature, as a state employee and someone elected to regulate risk, solvency, and consumer protections, I want to offer some thoughts on this debate.