Aging is a never-ending process, which starts with birth and never ends as long as there is a physical manifestation of the person (or thing) in question. So it’s the starting point that differs for each of us. Currently 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day, and the number of Americans over 65 is expected to touch 21 percent from its current 15 percent, meaning 81.7 million people would be over 65 by 2050. Age alone cannot turn someone elderly into a “doddering old codger”. Intellectual curiosity is the primary requisite for anyone who wishes to avoid superannuation in this knowledge economy should they want to continue participating in the job market.
How does the market treat older workers in the workplace when they are over age 55 and have more than 25 years of work experience under their belt? The ability of knowledge workers to take up new opportunities and challenges with their accumulated wisdom, experience and networks should not underestimated. Many employers associate their older workforce with not only experience but also institutional knowledge and leadership. Then again, there are recruiters who insist on knowing the candidate’s year of graduation so as to estimate their age and discriminate against them if they exceed the expected age levels.
Opinions are necessarily subjective, so let’s look at what the reality says, loud and clear:
The mismatch between available skills and required skills is bound to disrupt the job market in very big way in the near future and we can’t afford to lose access to existing talent because of a small detail like age. By not retaining or bringing retired workers into the workforce, businesses lose access to much-needed skills. They’re also creating wholly unwanted pressure on the well-being of the aging workforce as well as the economy itself, which is unable to cope with the needs of the social security system for funds. Even if we eliminate all altruistic motives and focus entirely on business outcomes alone, it must be recognized that aging people are far too valuable to be “retired.”
What is your strategy toward your aging workers?
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