Presented below, for your edification and enjoyment (maybe), are factoids collected from recent readings. In no particular order…
From usa.com, “More Americans leaving the workforce” (04-13-2011):
- In 2010, only 45.4% of Americans had jobs; the lowest since 1983, down from a peak of 49.3 % in 2000.
- In 2010, only 66.8 % of men had jobs, lowest on record. Until 1960s, more than 80% of men worked.
From wsj.com “Out of Work, Out of Options and Over the Hill” (10-24-2010)
- Of the 14.9 million unemployed, more than 2.2 million are 55 or older, according to the U.S. Labor Department. And almost half of those have been unemployed six months or longer. The unemployment rate in that age group is a record high 7.3%.
From cbsnews.com, Sunday Morning, “Baby Boomers: America’s New Unemployables” (04-03-2011):
- While people over 50 are less likely to be laid off, those that are have only a 24% chance of finding a new job within a year. For those past 62 years, the chance drops even more.
- “…employers are cautious about taking on not only the salaries [of Boomers] but the benefits they expect…Experience is less valuable to employers these days than being cheap.”
From The Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College, (03-25-2011)
- Employees approaching-retirement (55-65 years) and retirement-eligible (66 +years) are more engaged than are younger workers. There are no significant differences between older or younger workers regarding the job conditions that predict employee engagement.
- The current trend of older workers continuing to work past the traditional age of retirement is creating new challenges as well as opportunities. While some employers may see the advantage of retaining older workers to avoid losing critical knowledge, other employers may still be hindered by the misperception that it may be necessary to make extensive (and costly) adjustments for older workers.
- There is this idea among employers that older workers require a lot of accommodations…Older workers want the same things other workers want: opportunities for learning, job clarity, workplace flexibility, and supervisors who show concern for their well-being and recognition for a job well done. When these job conditions are met, workers of all ages are more engaged.
- The ideas that older workers are inflexible, unable to adapt, and costly to employers, is outdated in the current context of longevity and health. People in their 50s and 60s may well be at their peak—on average they are energized, reliable, and engaged. The real cost that employers should weigh is the cost of losing experience. Older workers have typically accumulated valuable knowledge and resilience and can be vital contributors in the work place.
To me, these factoids, culled from different sources, re-enforces The Great Disconnect in the last post. If companies are serious about achieving innovation to re-gain competitiveness, they need to rethink their approach to acquiring talent; especially talent over the age of 50.
The flip side is that workers over the age of 50 need to be able to rethink their value to potential employers and be able to fit their value to employers’ needs.