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Six Things You Need to Know About Mature Workers and the Aging Workforce

Rachel Reed
6/20/19 12:41 PM

The workforce is aging. American employees ages 65 and older (referred to as mature workers or perennials) make up the fastest-growing labor pool in the US. 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts workers ages 65 and older will enter the workforce faster than any other age group through 2024. Here are a few quick findings about the mature workers and the aging workforce:

They aren’t ready to retire
A 2018 Gallup survey found that 41% of respondents who are not retired plan to leave the job market at age 66 or older, a figure that’s almost doubled since 2004 (26%). Additionally, 20% of perennials are employed or actively looking for work, up from 12% in 1999, according to this year’s Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey of 1,423 adults.

The story doesn’t change for younger perennials
Unemployment among people ages 55 and older is the lowest of any age cohort at 2.7% (with 3.8% overall), down from 7.2% at the height of the Great Recession.

The benefits of diversity apply to age, too
Studies have shown that age diversity in the workplace increases productivity in both younger and older workers.

Life Expectancy, Great Recession Keeping Jobs Filled
The average life expectancy in the US as of 2018 is 76 for males and 81 for females,

Young workers have little faith in the aging workforce
More than a quarter of workers ages 18 to 49 said the trend of people staying in the workforce longer is “mostly a bad thing” for American workers, according to AP.

Age Discrimination Protection
Currently under consideration as a bipartisan bill, the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA) would make it easier to sue for age discrimination. Although the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) was passed in 1967, it is still often overlooked, and employers still find themselves stumbling when it comes to compliance. Under POWADA, a plaintiff must show that age discrimination was the sole motivating factor for an adverse employment decision. Many states and localities have their own laws prohibiting age bias, too.

Download: How Employee Recognition Influences Attitude & Behavior in the Workplace 

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