Dead is the New 80 (Originally published August 2008)

Baby Boomers, known for their professional identity and optimism, are poised to redefine retirement and aging just as they have redefined every other phase of their lives. A 2006 Merrill Lynch study found that 71% of all employees, regardless of age, intend to spend at least part of their retirement years working. Of those who intend to continue to work part-time after retirement, 45% say they never plan to stop working completely. Boomers expect to stay youthful and employed into their 60s, 70s and 80s, but eventually they, too, will grow old and face the realities of aging that are posing new challenges for employers. Consider the following:
  • Aging affects the energy and mental clarity of older workers and can place employers in awkward positions when managing performance.
  • Since many organizations do not offer age discrimination training, employers will likely face an increase in age related litigation among the sizable Boomer generation.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 40% of Americans over 65 have some sort of disability, compared with only 12% of those between 16-63. Many employers will see a surge in disability claims as a result of their much-needed aging workforce.
  • Employers will need to make more Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodations as Boomers age, including amplified audio-visual equipment and desks that accommodate wheelchairs.
Aware of the pending labor shortage caused by the population decrease after Boomers, employers recognize the need to attract and retain older workers. However, the vast majority is not prepared for the challenges that will come with their aging workforce. How ready are you???

Want more insight and tips for managing the different generations in your workplace? Contact us at www.interchange-group.com.