Mix It Up: True Workplace Diversity Includes Us
By Erica and Karen
How can you have diversity if you define your workforce as excluding those over 60? Especially when intellectual has replaced physical labor? And now that there are no longer enough younger folks to fill the available jobs, why wouldn't it make sense to redefine and include that population?
For the first time since the 1950’s, our working age population is in decline and the 65+ population is skyrocketing. Since 2008, for example, the number of people who qualify for social security has ballooned from 41.4 million to 49 million. And, for the first time in a long time, potential growth numbers are dropping from 3% to 2% because of the combined effect of fewer workers and lower productivity. That is a problem for everyone since a decline in numbers and productivity of the workforce inevitably results in a decline in economic growth.
It’s also an opportunity. The typical 65 year old today is about as healthy as a 58 year old was four decades ago. Experience has made the seasoned worker more efficient and effective and therefore more productive. According to at least one study, at least 30% of retirees want to continue to work in some capacity. Very simply, we are a large and productive workforce ready to be engaged. What more do you need to know?
It’s time to see us--all of us--as part of the solution to a nation-wide problem. As Mr. Jens Weidman of Bundesbank has been quoted as saying, “The young can run faster, but the old know the shortcuts.”