The workforce is getting older, leading to a “silver tsunami” in our workplaces as the number of workers ages 55 and older will rise from 32.4 million in 2012 to almost 44 million in 2022. This has huge implications for both workers and employers.
Older workers are extending their stay in the workforce due to longer life expectancy and insufficient retirement savings—while they continue to face challenges such as bias and stereotypes.
In his blog post “The Aging Workforce and What it Means for Employers,” Mark Fogel, CEO of HC3 and senior adjunct professor at Adelphi Graduate School of Business, says, “Since the economy has gone through a growth spurt the past few years, there has been discussion about where Boomers fit into the future of work. My generation grew up envisioning life-long employment at their workplaces. That was shattered several years ago. Now Boomers are facing issues including age discrimination and concerns over being overqualified or unqualified for job opportunities.”
But Boomers are working overtime to change the tide. They’re taking wellness seriously, going back to school, learning new skills and changing careers–all in an effort to stay mentally and physically fit, active and in the workforce a little longer.
For employers, the “Boomer brain drain” that threatens to weaken their competitive advantage has sparked an urgency around the creation of programs and incentives such as mentoring, flexible work and phased retirement.
The SHRM Foundation Report Preparing for an Aging Workforce says that “HR professionals can take the lead in removing barriers, such as age discrimination and stereotyping, that may hold back older workers. To do this, they must educate organizational leaders and employees that hiring or retaining older workers does not come at the expense of younger workers and that society benefits when experienced workers remain in the workforce longer. From a cost standpoint, retaining or retraining older workers may be more cost-effective for many organizations than recruiting, hiring, onboarding, socializing and training new hires.”
Additionally, the report says that “paths to retirement are changing and described a new approach to working in later years that has many people retiring from a first career and subsequently returning to the workforce in a new capacity—often in an entirely new field or career. Thus, organizations must shift their perceptions about career paths to take advantage of the rich but often untapped talent pool of mature workers.”
What are you doing to combat age discrimination, keep older workers on board and make your organization an employer of choice for every generation?
Please join @shrmnextchat at 3:00 p.m. ET on October 3 for #Nextchat with special guest Mark Fogel (@HC3). We’ll chat about how employees can navigate the challenges associated with aging in the workplace and how organizations can create effective solutions that address their own needs—and the needs of an aging workforce.
Q1. What are the signs that you’re encountering age discrimination in your workplace or in the hiring process?
Q2. Do women face more age discrimination than men? Does it depend on the job or industry?
Q3. Networking and continued education to update skills can help older workers find jobs. What else can older workers do to help counter age discrimination and stay in the workforce longer?
Q4. What are the signs that Boomer retirements are beginning to affect organizations?
Q5. How is your organization including older workers in diversity planning and in your talent acquisition and recruitment marketing strategies?
Q6. What types of accommodations or benefits can organizations implement (or have you implemented in your workplace) to help retain older workers?
Q7. Aside from skills and knowledge transfer to younger employees, why is it important to retain older workers?
Q8. What advice can you share with other HR professionals for creating short-term and long-term solutions to hire and retain older workers?