“The population of younger workers with the education and skills to replace Baby Boomers is not large enough — or growing fast enough — to make up for the older generation’s departure,” according to Cheryl Paullin, Ph.D. in her research The Aging Workforce: leveraging the talents of mature employees. Without qualified workers to replace the boomer’s generations, it will be important for businesses to adjust their hiring practices to meet the needs of older workers in order to truly benefit from the wealth of skills, knowledge, and resources that this demographic can bring to an organization.
In the future, there may be some younger workers available from other countries, but it takes additional resources and time to develop these workers, through recruiting, onboarding, training, hiring, and documentation. Oftentimes it is more practical and economical to reskill mature workers or train current older employees as this demographic tend to have higher retention on investment.
Attracting and retaining mature workers adds value to businesses.
Older adults, for the most part, need and want to continue working since most people are living longer healthier lives. According to Paullin, “Paths to retirement are changing. Many people retire from a first career, then “unretire.” Often “unretirees” pursue a different type of work than their previous occupations, and many seek work that allows them to give back to their communities.” Older adults want to remain social, active, and involved in work they are passionate about especially if they see it helping their community. They are aware that actively engaged people are less likely to develop adverse aging health factors.
This isn’t a small group of mature people we are talking about. According to the US Census Bureau “By 2030, one in five Americans will be 65 years and older.”
Organizations that can use this talent pool effectively will be able to gain a competitive advantage not only from this group’s wealth of knowledge, experience, and skills but also from their insight into the needs of the aging consumer pool.
Successfully Integrating the Aging Population
Aon Hewitt, an AARP researcher, reports that 35% of the participating U.S. labor force will be age 50+ in 2022 compared to just 25% in 2002.
Changes will need to be made to the work structure in order to address the needs of this population.
Aging workers look for different things in companies, namely:
- Flexible work schedules (to allow for doctors appointments and other needs)
- Health care benefits
- Feeling respected and valued for their work
- Opportunities to continue learning and growing
It is no secret that as we age we experience more health issues, so employers need to consider accessible options for those with diminishing abilities in sight, hearing, and mobility. These may need to be as simple as teaching workers how to adjust font sizes across device applications and assuring that workers truly understand how to optimize their technology and software.
This new and perhaps daunting seeming task doesn’t have to require hiring someone else in your organization. There is already a specialist out there for that. GetSetUp uses educators over 50 years old to teach their peers over 50 the essential tech tools they need to be healthier, happier, and more connected. These can be class sessions on everyday tools from using GSuite effectively and mobile devices or programs customized to a company’s needs based on specific software such as Salesforce.
Furthermore, benefits to lifelong learning through GetSetUp can help older employees connect with their peers through live interactive online sessions on a wide range of topics including those geared toward mental and physical well-being. This can work as an additional benefit to ensure that employees have access to health and wellness programs tailored to their needs, diminish health risk factors such as loneliness, obesity, poor nutrition, and a lack of physical fitness.
Benefits of Hiring Experienced Workers
“At GetSetUp the benefits of hiring older workers even for our core team far outweigh the additional costs and changes needed to create inclusive workspaces,” says Lawrence Kosick, co-founder of GetSetUp.
Companies will gain from their older employees:
- Experienced professionals, who are critical mentors to train successors in the skills needed that are often lacking from academics alone.
- A wide breadth of knowledge to bring to the table to help with decision making.
- An invaluable resource on how services and products address the needs of this age bracket, which will be 25% of the consumer market.
- Professionals, who truly value the sense of community at work since other social circles may have shifted with age as people move away, retire, or pass on. These individuals tend to also have a higher retention rate than younger employees who may move away for professional growth or family reasons.
- While financial compensation is always important in a job, this population tends to stay in a role for social and psychological fulfillment.
Don’t let your business or organization miss out on the essential value older employees can add to your team. Their drive and passion-based on decades of experience- is something you can’t get from a college graduate. And if you need help to provide digital adoption training for your employees or learning benefits GetSetUp is a great resource that can customize to your organization’s needs. Contact them to learn more.
Aon Hewitt. A Business Case for Workers Age 50+: A Look at the Value of Experience. Washington, DC: AARP Research, April 2015. https://doi.org/10.26419/res.00100.001
Cheryl Paullin, The Aging Workforce: Leveraging the Talents of Mature Employees (Alexandria, VA: SHRM Foundation, 2014).