Is your business ready for an increase in wage earners over the age of 55?

By 2031, more than 25% of all American workers will be over the age of 55, according to a report from global consultants Bain & Co. That’s a nearly 10% jump from 2011.

Seniors are working longer – many by choice. But many employers aren’t prepared to meet their needs. The report found three specific things employers and human resources officials can do to support this growing population:

Respect Their Strengths

The irony of a growing senior workforce is that age discrimination and bias is at an all-time high. “Hey Boomer” and other pejorative terms are heard much too frequently. Seniors can bring a wide range of skills and are often very dedicated to the team. They’ve adapted to the introduction of personal computers, cell phones, e-commerce and more. Many are motivated to learn new processes and master new tools to keep their brains sharp.

Understand Their Motivation

Six out of 10 workers over the age of 55 say they keep working because they’re healthy and have expertise to contribute. Money might not be their biggest motivator. More than half of those surveyed said they keep working because it gives them a sense of purpose and 58% are doing so to keep their minds active.

Provide Opportunities to Learn New Skills

All workers need to learn new skills and emerging technologies. About 22% of workers aged 55 to 64 say they need more tech skills and are willing to learn. Combined with learning their motivations for remaining in the workforce and your workers’ skills and experience can become a competitive advantage with increased revenue for your business.

This isn’t news to us at AgeWell Services. Reflective of the populations we serve, more than half of the staff is over the age of 60. This lived experience is critical to better serve the seniors in our service counties.

As we’ve found, hiring adults over the age of 55 is also good business. The international Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has found that age-diverse firms have lower turnover and higher productivity.

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