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May 4, 2021

The Economics Of A Multi-Generational Workforce

It’s no secret that organizations tend to prefer younger workers. However, people are living longer than ever, and more older people are seeking to gain or retain employment. As a result, five generations of workers are in the job market for the first time in history. Many business owners and hiring managers see this as a challenge, but today’s workforce demographics also present several opportunities.

An aging workforce shouldn’t be seen as a burden. Research shows that businesses and entire economies benefit from multi-generational workforces. One 2020 study found that investing in an age-diverse workforce will raise gross domestic product per capita by almost 19% in three decades. Therefore, it’s important that companies find ways to include people of all ages. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the economics surrounding the new demographics in the workplace.

The Contribution of Mature Workers to Businesses and Economies

There are many stereotypes surrounding mature talent. However, 50-plus employees have a lot to offer their employers and their coworkers. They boost the productivity of the organizations they serve not only through their own job performance but also the way in which they can boost teams. Not only are older workers less likely to move on to other jobs, but they have lots of knowledge they can share with younger talent. Collaborative work between people of different ages can lead to the creation of new products and services that help companies to grow.

Going a step further, mature workers have a positive impact on the economy as a whole. As people across the world live longer, healthier lives, they help to drive the economy. By 2032, Americans aged 50 and over are expected to generate $13.5 trillion in economic activity compared to almost $8 trillion in 2015. However, there is even more to consider. It is projected that by 2030, people over the age of 55 will have accounted for half of the growth in domestic consumer spending in the United States following the world financial crisis.

In Germany, where in excess of 21% of the German population is older than 65, the 55-plus demographic will account for 86% of domestic spending. And, if OECD member states can convince workers nearing retirement to continue working, it could add $3.5 trillion to their economies. Given Germany’s heavy reliance on manufacturing and the physical nature of many jobs, it may be difficult to keep older workers. However, some companies are using technology to help make their operations more inclusive of mature talent.

No matter which country you’re looking at, there are jobs in which age is a plus rather than a drawback. Mature employees tend to be better at negotiation, persuasion, and emotional intelligence since these skills improve with age. Hiring and retaining 50-plus employees, therefore, shouldn’t be seen as just a nice thing to do. It makes business sense for companies and economic importance for countries.

How You Can Take Advantage of Diverse Ages in Your Company

To attract employees of all generations, you’ll need to get rid of any age-bias in your recruiting, no matter how unconscious it may be. One OECD report recommended the use of age-neutral language and imagery in job descriptions and using software rather than manual means to sort job applications. Offering phased retirement can also help you attract mature talent since some people want to work beyond the traditional retirement age but only on a part-time basis.

Along with addressing your hiring practices, you also need to make sure the work environment meets the needs of people in all stages of life. This may include offering flexible working hours and investing in programs that promote financial literacy, health and wellness, and retirement planning. You may also find it helpful to ask employees about what would increase their satisfaction so you can be sure you’re providing benefits they truly value. Employers who respond to the changing needs of their employees are more likely to motivate and retain them. These workers, in turn, are more likely to work hard on behalf of the organization and contribute to its success.

Adjust to the New Reality with Help from WiseForce Advisors

Even when organizations see the benefit of employing people of different ages, managers often aren’t sure how to go about making it work. That’s why WiseForce exists. We help organizations attract and retain mature talent by identifying and rooting out age discrimination. We offer consulting services and personalized solutions to help your business thrive in the current environment. Contact us today to learn about how interventions such as our Age Management Readiness Questionnaire, Corporate Awareness Sessions and Catalyst Program can help your company.