Work later in life
When President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act in 1935, with the aim of providing old-age benefits to people over 65, athe average life expectancy in the United States was around 62 years: that is, the average person would not live long enough to qualify for the program.
Now the life expectancy in the United States is about 79 years old, and tThe average retirement age is 60. It is no wonder that senior assistance programs are so politically powerful, nor that they have seen rising costs.
It is far from clear that all retirees want to retire as soon as they do. Sometimes people at the end of their working life are caught in macroeconomic upheavals, like the Great Recession or the pandemic recession, and they end up losing a few years when they would have preferred to remain attached to the workforce, earning money. additional income. Income. In other cases, older workers would be open to part-time or more flexible working arrangements, but when these do not appear to be available to them, they eventually retire. In yet other cases, potential older workers receive the message that employers are looking for someone younger.
In addition, since many people go to school longer, marry and have children at an older age, and remain healthy until old age, it seems plausible that working until older. advanced is also becoming more common. There are more and more jobs that involve offering a service or doing digital work that is not physically taxing.
In reflecting on this report, it is perhaps a useful starting point to remember that we are not debating whether populations around the world and the potential working-age population will continue to age. These changes are happening. The historical experience in the United States is that many workplaces had relatively higher numbers of younger workers in lower-level jobs, led by a relatively smaller number of older workers in higher-level jobs. This model seems likely to move towards a more truly multigenerational workplace, with people of all ages at all levels. The question is how to react: for individuals who are thinking about their life plan, for employers who are considering recruitment and retention policies, and for countries which are considering the solvency of their support programs for the elderly and to economic growth more broadly. With this vision in mind, the The OECD has published Promote an age-inclusive workforce: live, learn and earn longer.
Here are some thoughts based on this report:
“The ratio of the working-age population to the total population is expected to decline in many countries, including the United States.” This trend means that a smaller proportion of people of working age will support a larger proportion of people outside their working age, such as the elderly and children. The OECD calculates that in the United States, an increase in the working age of four years, spread over the period 2015-2050, would prevent the ratio of the working-age population to the total population from falling. Indeed, since around 2000, the participation rate of those over 65 has increased slightly.
Employers who are aware of this demographic shift towards aging may wish to keep certain trends in mind. The first is that older workers tend to stay longer in a company, and therefore reduce recruitment and retention costs: “The worker turnover rate is lower for older workers than for older workers. very active and for young workers and the presence of older workers means that fewer young colleagues leave. also. … Staff turnover is 4% lower in a company with 10% more older workers than the medium business. ”
Another is that older workers often have better teamwork skills:
“Teamwork is part the skills most used at work, especially in Anglo-Saxon countries … The working methods promote collaboration between colleagues from different parts of the organization, both in terms of content and geographic location. In effect, this sets up undefined working groups alongside the traditional team structure, so-called “hidden teams”. Older workers who demonstrate good moderation skills based on their long experience play a key role here. Yet older workers may not get the credit they deserve for improving team performance … ”
A multigenerational workforce can better understand the market: “In addition, an age-diverse workforce can lead to better business-to-consumer and business-to-business relationships, as the representation of business groups. The age of the company’s customers in the clean workforce makes it easier. to find out what customers need. In fact, HR professionals point out that improving customer service is one of the biggest benefits of age-diverse teams. “
There are probably complementarities between younger and older workers:
“Research on these types of co-worker complementarities between workers of different ages has been scarce, although HR professionals and workers themselves name knowledge sharing and have different perspectives on the key benefits of ‘teams of different ages … workers are more productive when working with other people of different ages, thanks to the complementarities between them. “
A company that is serious about dealing with the looming reality of a multigenerational workforce would need to make various changes. For example, he might think about whether his recruitment for new workers is explicitly or implicitly aimed at young people, or whether, for example, he also uses “turners” who have left the labor market and who do so. now reinstate. He might think of phased retirement plans for older workers.
Currently, however, few employers have policies in place that support a multigenerational workforce. This applies to all policy dimensions: from supporting the mobilization and management of a multigenerational workforce, to creating attractive jobs at all stages of life and keeping skills up to date for a long and productive career. According to the AARP Global Employer Survey 2020, in any policy area, more than 6% of employers have not implemented policies to support a multigenerational workforce, such as impartial hiring processes and programs. return to work or phased retirement …
Employers often talk about the need for continuous retraining of workers, but they miss out on how a multigenerational workforce can contribute to this process. The obvious example is when older employers supervise younger ones. But a less obvious example is that in a tech-driven world, younger employees may often be able to offer “reverse mentoring” to older ones (quotes omitted from quote):
Reverse mentoring is intrinsically linked to coaching and mentoring and is growing in importance. Where mentoring and coaching opens up learning opportunities for junior employees, reverse mentoring revolves around the transfer of knowledge and skills from junior to senior employees. In the United States, several large organizations have implemented reverse mentoring, including General Motors, Unilever, Deloitte & Touche, Procter & Gamble, and IBM. Various speakers discussed the advantages of this practice in the context of multigenerational teams. Reverse mentoring helps transfer knowledge between junior and senior employees, resulting in intergenerational learning. The many examples of this practice in a wide range of companies show that companies recognize the importance and effectiveness of this approach. … According to OECD PIAAC data on adult skills, younger individuals score higher on average than older individuals on technological dexterity. In this context, reverse mentoring is a means of transferring skills between generations or different experiences. However, academics argue that the use of reverse mentoring can, and should, go beyond learning about technology; Reverse mentoring can also be a way to learn about current issues around diversity and breaking age stereotypes. Higher levels of understanding and better coordination of work processes all lead to higher levels of engagement among employees, which benefits organizations.
Finally, we sometimes hear complaints that older workers have to leave the labor market so that younger workers can have a chance. There may be situations where this is true, but in a broad sense there does not appear to be any evidence of a social compromise that countries with fewer working older people see a pattern of benefits for young people. workers. The OECD report notes:
It is commonly accepted that the demand for labor is fixed in such a way that increasingly younger older workers compete for a job. This is often referred to as the work package argument. 30% of respondents to the 2015 ISSP survey said employed people aged 60 or over take jobs away from young people.[…]Such perceptions are fueled by short-term crisis situations in which companies have to reduce or at least not increase their workforce while workers seek to keep their jobs as the future looks uncertain. … In general, the wisdom of young and old being substitutes rather than complements is wrong. The empirical literature which analyzes specifically for many different countries the relationship between the employment of young workers and that of older workers are not crowded out (OECD, 2013). One indicator is the positive correlation between the employment rates of older and younger workers in OECD countries … The reason is simple; younger and older workers have different skills and experience, the closest substitute for an older worker is another older worker rather than a younger worker. … As a result, past policies to promote early retirement in the hope of increasing youth employment in OECD countries have proven ineffective.
Of course, governments also have a role to play, considering how the rules for programs like social security or health insurance can discourage work. But I feel a lot of resistance to the idea of a multigenerational workforce is based on attitudes that reflect demographics that existed before, not demographics to come.