Monday, January 21, 2019

The Aging Workforce - Finding The Silver Lining

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2030, one in every five residents will be older than the age of 65. In the U.S. alone, 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day.  This also means the U.S. workforce is getting older too.  Americans are living longer, and in turn, working longer.  Some will continue to work for financial reasons, others simply to stay engaged. This trend is expected to continue.

With current hiring trends focused on millennial's and Generation Z, many employers do not recruit for older workers at all.  Some actually see the seasoned worker as a disadvantage.  The most common misconceptions are that salaries are too high, they are burned out, or resistant to change.  Some employers also believe the older workforce is out of touch or unfamiliar with technology, or they have poor record in attendance due to health reasons.  As this may be true in some instances many studies show just the opposite.

Areas in which the older worker scored high:
  • ·         Level of experience
  • ·         Leadership skills
  • ·         Strong communication skills
  • ·         Problem solving skills
  • ·         Loyalty
  • ·         Reliability
  • ·         Perspective
  • ·         Work ethics
Leading-edge companies have researched the value of the older worker and have implemented positive changes in the workplace, such as:
  • ·       Providing flexible assignments and/or work schedules
  • ·       Providing mentorship opportunities
  • ·       Promoting age-neutral language in the workplace
  • ·       Providing educational opportunities to enhance skills
  • ·       Improving ergonomics in the workplace
So, how can company decision-makers break free from the negative stereotypes of the seasoned worker? Starting to realize that one of best talent pools you have are from the people you already have is a great place to start.  Companies simply lose when they fail to embrace the knowledge and experience of their aging workforce.

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