More Aging Workers Are Staying and Re-entering the Workforce
Cultural perspectives regarding aging workers may be changing. The following facts describe various social and economic influences over the past 50 years.
Age and Work Force Factors in the 1960s
Back in the 1960’s, the Wirtz Report revealed that age discrimination was prevalent: 50 percent of employers used age limits to deny jobs to workers who were 45 and older.
Other differences existed as well. Men spent the majority of their careers working for one company, in one profession and retired at early ages with pensions. Slightly more than 33 percent of the workers at that time were women. Average life expectancies for men were age 67 and for women age 74.
Age and Work Force Factors Today
The work force in 2017 has more than doubled over what it was in the 1960s, which is now 50 years ago. Over the last 25 years the percentage of workers who are age 55 and older has doubled. More recently, the number of workers who are 65 and older who have stayed or re-entered the workforce is greater. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the percentage of workers between the ages of 65 to 74 and who are 75 and older will increase at the fastest rate, by 75 percent by 2050. In contrast, workers from the ages of 25 to 54 are only predicted to increase by two percent during this same period.
More women at the age of 55 and older are expected to make up 25 percent of the women’s work force by 2024, which is double the number from the year 2000.
Why Are People Working Longer Today?
Older workers in current generations are overall healthier and enjoy longer life expectancies than previous generations. Eligibility for Social Security benefits begins at older ages, and traditional pension benefits are on a decline. The estimate of private sector workers between the ages of 25 and 64 who have any type of employer-sponsored retirement plan is lower than 50 percent.
Employers Shift Their Perceptive of Older Workers
As the Acting Chair of the EEOC said in her statement, older workers “should be more aptly described as ‘experienced workers’…(they) are healthier, more educated and working and living longer than previous generations. Age-diverse teams and workforces can improve employee engagement, performance and productivity. Experienced workers have talent that our economy cannot afford to waste.”
For employers who experience a lack of skilled, qualified workers, an older worker often solves the problem. Economically, the nation stands to benefit from keeping older workers employed longer because doing so leads to greater income production and more tax revenue.
Our attorneys at Stephen Hans & Associates are glad to discuss employment concerns and help business owners meet their legal needs.