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. Those born between ~1930 and 1950 make up a unique workforce generation known by many as "Perennials" or the "Ageless Generation."
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. This trend is sweeping other nations; in Japan and South Korea, the workforce is aging even faster. Here are a few quick findings about the mature workers and the aging workforce:
Retirement is not in the cards for many 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.
Companies Are Working to Retain Perennials In response to its aging workforce and the challenges they face in winter months, CVS started a program that allows mature workers to transfer temporarily to stores in warmer states during the winter. From Quartz: "When BMW realized how many workers with job protection at one German plant were aging, the automaker retooled its production facility to accommodate older workers, installing ergonomic seating and softer floors, enlarging the type on the computers, and supplying more supportive work boots."
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. The workforce is aging in part because people are living longer, healthier lives well into their 70s and even 80s, leaving some with decades of suitable work. For many others, a shift in corporate benefit packages to defined-contribution plans has left some mature workers financially unable to retire.
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.
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