More senior Americans are working than ever before and hiring them can be a financial boon for companies facing a tight labor market


Employers are witnessing a significant increase in the number of older workers opting to remain in the workforce, which presents mutual benefits for both employees and employers, according to Alexa Mikhail's article in Fortune's February and March 2024 print issue. Recent research from Pew Research reveals that nearly double the number of Americans aged 65 and older are now actively working in comparison to three decades ago, highlighting a societal shift. Some older employees continue to work to support longer lifespans and caregiving responsibilities that traditional retirement packages may not cover. Others find purpose and social connections in their continued professional engagement. Elizabeth White, author of "55, Underemployed, and Faking Normal," asserts that retirement is evolving, no longer a one-time, irreversible exit from the workforce.

There are numerous advantages for companies that hire older workers, including a more committed, stable, and content workforce. Data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development indicates that companies with 10% or more older workers experience a 4% lower turnover rate. Furthermore, older employees report lower burnout rates and higher levels of engagement, particularly among baby boomers, as per a 2022 Gallup survey.

The benefits of workforce diversity are also evident, with age-diverse teams outperforming their more homogenous counterparts, as shown by a 2020 International Longevity Centre study. However, age-inclusive practices are essential for creating and maintaining an age-diverse workforce, considering that a significant percentage of older workers encounter ageism in their daily lives, with some believing that their age has hindered their job prospects.

Some companies are taking proactive steps to attract and retain older workers by offering specialized programs and benefits tailored to their needs. For instance, Northrup Grumman's iReturn program supports mid to late-career individuals who have taken an extended career break, resulting in a high retention rate. Additionally, KPMG's caregiver concierge benefits aim to support workers in managing caregiving responsibilities.

Jessica Kriegel, the chief scientist of workplace culture at Culture Partner, emphasizes the ongoing battle for talent, underscoring the importance of fostering a sense of belonging among all employees to positively impact the company's bottom line.  

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