In December 2017, the US. Senate Special Committee on Aging released a report entitled America’s Aging Workforce: Opportunities and Challenges. The report outlines a variety of trends in the workplace regarding the American workforce growing older and working longer and provides actionable insight into how companies may adjust, adapt and embrace this trend as an opportunity to improve and grow.
Let’s look at a few of the key findings:
- The upsurge of workers over 65 is increasing at a rate higher than the growth of the overall workforce and is projected to continue throughout the next decade.
- The nature of retirement is changing as would-be retirees often choose to start small businesses or work part-time positions instead of opting for the traditional view of retirement.
- Mature workers often face age discrimination or insufficient training opportunities in the workplace.
- Most companies recognize the aging of the workforce, but less than half take meaningful action to enable older adults to continue employment.
Why should my company embrace this trend?
An aging workforce benefits both workers and employers. For seasoned workers, continuing employment provides a sense of purpose. Studies consistently show a positive link between employment and overall health and well-being. Additionally, employment sustains financial security through earnings and access to retirement plans while also allowing for affordable medical plans through employer-sponsored insurance programs and corporate wellness programs.
For employers, older workers contribute valuable skills and experience and improve workforce diversity. The combination of these not only provides the opportunity for improved outcomes today, but also in the future as younger employees continue to learn, grow, and develop through the mentorship of more experienced colleagues.
How can we accommodate senior workers?
The report outlines several quick tips and ideas to develop opportunities and allow retirement-aged workers to continue to thrive; pointing to:
- Training and skill development opportunities
- Health, wellness, and disability programs
- Adjusting for work-life balance needs
- Retirement savings plans
- Mutually beneficial lanes to transition into retirement
The report also provides several examples of major organizations like American Express, Proctor & Gamble, and Michelin taking a unique approach to creating policies that support aging workers.
Concordia University Chicago | Gerontology