More Elderly in the Workplace

From 2014-24, the U.S. labor force for 65-75-year-olds is estimated to grow 4.5%, along with 6.4% for those over the age of 75. Aging Baby Boomers, healthier/longer life expectancy, high levels of education, uncertainty around Social Security, lack of retirement savings, and sheer enjoyment are the main drivers behind this trend.

Older workers are a major source of talent, can contribute to increased productivity with their experience, and can save employers money by reducing turnover thanks to high levels of company loyalty.

However, many employers are averse to hiring older workers for a variety of reasons, including the costs of training them, concerns around physical and mental stamina, and reservations about their (presumed) low levels of technical skills.

Just as low-educated, low-wage workers are at risk of being excluded from future jobs due to automation, older workers face the prospect of a failed transition due to ageist bias. With 19% of the U.S. population expected to be above the age of 65 by the year 2030, ageism will prove to be a core problem in achieving a future of meaningful work for all.

@hcfirestine and @Sandera, you may have thoughts on this discussion. What, if any, emerging solutions are being tired to deal with this situation? Do you feel those innovations are enough?

Some stats from Axios:

  • Employment in the U.S. has risen by 22 million since 1998 — and workers over 55 account for 90% of that surge.
  • The growth is occurring at the high-skill and low-skill ends of the spectrum.
  • Many people at the lower end of the spectrum remain in the workforce because they cannot afford to retire.
  • [Studies have shown]( that workers over 50 often get turned away from jobs even if they've got the right qualifications.

@jordangiali -
I know you’re doing some research on this subject right now. Do you think we should use cognitive enhancers to aid this population? I know there are several reports covering this issue.

@Roey I’m not sure that cognitive enhancers are the solution to helping older adults gain employment in the future, although I’m interested to hear more about this. I think we need to think more creatively about how we plug older workers into the workplace. For instance, with the rising demand for soft skills, it seems like a great opportunity for older workers to leverage their work/life experience to help train younger workers. @dianadaniels I think you touched on this in a previous post – do you have any thoughts on how this might be a solution to this core problem?

@Jerome, @markrembert, I’d like to ask for your input on this discussion as well, specifically if this is a nationwide trend or does it affect different regions and different professions in different ways?