The role of millennials at work, as well as determining how to fulfil the diverse expectations and demands of this generation of employees, have been the focus of most human resource professionals over the past decade. Without a doubt, this has been significant work. Leaders, on the other hand, must be cognizant of a far larger demographic problem that lies ahead: the role of persons over the age of 55.
Over the next ten years, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, employees over the age of 65 are expected to be one of the fastest increasing groups of the workforce. According to the American Association of Retired Persons, Americans 55 and over account for slightly less than a quarter of the nation’s labour force, yet they accounted for nearly half (49 percent) of the 2.9 million new jobs created in 2018, the highest proportion of any age group. A similar theory is comprehensively yet simply described in age quotes presented by Reneturrek.com.
This pattern is likely to persist. We’re living longer lives and having fewer children as a result of this trend. Almost every industrialised country, with the exception of the United States and the United Kingdom, has a fertility rate that is below replacement. As a result, our populations—as well as our labour forces—will continue to age.
As is obvious, public policy, immigration, and healthcare investments are all influenced by this fact. However, for those of us in human resources, the more important component is the significant impact this will have on our jobs.
Attitudes Towards Old Age
What is the general attitude of most employers toward older employees? They aren’t overjoyed by the fact that they are present. While older employees may be wiser and more reliable, they usually make more money than younger workers. Many businesses fear that older employees are unable to keep up with the demands of today’s always-on digital workplace
We questioned employers if they considered ageing to be a competitive advantage or a competitive disadvantage in their organisation a few years ago. Almost 60% of those who answered the survey felt that their age was a disadvantage. In other words, when a young employee competes for a job against an older employee, the young employee will win the competition.
When Mark Zuckerberg stated in an interview in 2007 that “younger people are just smarter,” he encapsulated this prejudiced mindset brilliantly.
Transitions that are forced
This is something I’ve witnessed in my own personal life. Many of my college classmates (we’re all in our early 60s) are beginning to think about retirement, mostly as a result of being driven out of their jobs by their employers. Most of us will live into our 80s, 90s, or perhaps later, and as we become older, employment becomes one of the most fulfilling things we can do for ourselves and others. Employers, on the other hand, do not view things this way.
Several recent studies by the Urban Institute and ProPublica found that more than half of workers over the age of 50 leave their long-term positions before they are ready to retire. Nine out of ten of such individuals never regain their prior earning ability. Why? Employers just do not want them to return to their company.
Discrimination on the basis of age
Companies are increasingly being sued for age discrimination on the part of their employees. The use of phrases such as “you’re too old for this job” and “we only hire persons with fewer than seven years of experience” by recruiters has been documented. In order to comply with the law, even Facebook was obliged to eliminate age as a consideration for job listings in its online ads.
The examples shown above are all instances of explicit prejudice. Age discrimination, on the other hand, is far more subtle in most businesses. Because older individuals earn greater incomes, they are often passed over for a variety of occupations.
Older workers can benefit from new ideas.
Change, on the other hand, is on the way. Apart from the fact that age discrimination runs contrary to the goals of most diversity and inclusion initiatives, the reality is that companies desperately need older workers due to historically high unemployment rates and severe skill shortages.
Employers such as Boeing, Bank of America, and Apple are experimenting with “re-careering” programmes, in which they welcome retirees back to work while providing them with training and new skills, and allowing them to work part time while doing so. I strongly recommend all employers to make this type of investment
In addition, business executives must keep in mind that the baby boomer generation is the world’s largest purchasing demographic and has double the amount of disposable money as the rest of the world’s population combined. These customers desire to do business with companies that value the contributions of older people and do not consider age to be a disadvantage.
Consider the attitudes toward ageing that exist throughout your organisation. Workplaces with older employees tend to be more stable, they understand how to operate in groups, and they are more likely to stay loyal over time. The presence of a diverse staff reflects a company’s commitment to responsible corporate citizenship.
Now is the moment for human resource directors to engage aggressively to eliminate age discrimination in their organisations’ workforces and to recognise generational diversity as a worthwhile aim.
Employees over the age of 65 are expected to be one of the fastest increasing groups of the workforce. Americans 55 and over account for slightly less than a quarter of the nation’s labour force. They accounted for nearly half (49 percent) of the 2.9 million new jobs created in 2018. Most of us will live into our 80s, 90s, or perhaps later, and as we become older, employment becomes one of the most fulfilling things we can do. Employers, on the other hand, do not view things this way.
More than half of workers over the age of 50 leave their long-term positions before they are ready to retire. Companies need older workers due to historically high unemployment rates and severe skill shortages. The presence of a diverse staff reflects a company’s commitment to responsible corporate citizenship. The baby boomer generation has double the amount of disposable money as the rest of the world’s population combined.