According to Inc. Magazine, there are now more than 76,000,000 Americans reaching the age of 60 and beyond, “and it seems they either can’t or don’t want to stop working.” An article in The Atlantic points out that employment in America of those aged 65 and older doubled between 1977 and 2007 and continues to climb. The employment landscape for those 60 and older has changed dramatically over the last decade. Employers are finding a lot of good reasons to hire older workers.
Seniors in the Workplace: Is 60 the New 40?
Another factor in the growth of seniors in the workplace is the changing nature of work; we can be productive far longer than in earlier eras. Sixty may be the new 40. Some jobs require cognitive skills that actually improve with age. According to a research paper entitled “Population Aging and Comparative Advantage,” these skills include technical writing, human resources management and numerous other disciplines.
The economics of retirement
The fabled retirement that Americans worked for and enjoyed decades ago may no longer be an option for today’s seniors. It’s increasingly rare to find an organization, even a union company, which offers a pension on which it is sufficient to live. Improved healthcare means that people are living longer. They’re taking care of themselves, eating better diets, exercising and remaining physically and mentally engaged. This longer lifespan requires more money.
Many seniors want to continue working
Also consider that an older person who may have enough money to live comfortably may want to work. Older people may be just as eager to contribute as they were when they were twenty. For many seniors, retirement just doesn’t work. They like the structure of having a place to go every day. They like the relationships, the sense of belonging. The mental stimulation that’s part of sharing ideas and problem-solving.
Consider the numerous benefits an older employee may provide. They:
Are a steady and reliable source of skilled labor.
Offer decades of relevant experience and, if they enjoy health coverage, may offer the experience you require for less money than a younger candidate requiring full benefits.
Offer your younger employees valuable mentoring at no cost.
Are more comfortable than younger candidates with flexible hours. Many seniors are happy to work part-time.
Are not aggressively seeking to advance their careers at this point in their lives. You probably won’t have to worry about their playing political games that can spoil office environments.
Offer stability. Turnover is expensive for every company.
Are experienced problem solvers, seasoned and more engaged – they want to be involved, focused on tasks.
More technological savvy than you think. Boomers are comfortable using computers. Where there are skill gaps, they can learn.
Will appreciate an opportunity to work. Loyalty is a valuable commodity.
Represent a large segment of the buying public and know that market better than the rest of your team.
Already know what they’re good at.
Remember that many veterans are in this age group, and hiring those who have served in the military may contribute to your company’s ethos and brand.