Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Older Women Reshaping U.S. Job Market: Wall St. Journal

Writing in the Wall St. Journal, Nick Timiraos, follows up on the changing demographics of the U.S. workforce: "Since the start of the most recent recession in December 2007, the share of older working women has grown while the percentage of every other category of U.S. worker—by gender and age—has declined or is flat." In addition to providing some human interest angles, the article also points out:
The U.S. unemployment rate fell below 5% last month, a level not seen since early 2008. That drop, which happened faster than many economists had expected, should trigger employers to offer higher wages as they chase fewer potential hires. But the textbook case is muddled by the shifting demographics of the U.S. workforce.

Older men and women are leaving the workforce more slowly than in the past, suggesting a greater potential labor supply—and more slack—than an unemployment rate below 5% would typically imply. Such economic slack must be cinched—by finding jobs for discouraged younger workers, for example—before wages can rise more broadly.
Source: Wall St. Journal "How Older Women Are Reshaping U.S. Job Market" (February 23, 2016)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Research: Article Explores Older Workers in South Korea, South Korean Employment Policies

An article by You Yonglim and Sohn Sunju in the Indian Journal of Science & Technology looks at older workers in South Korea through their life stories and experiences in order to interpret how employed older people understand South Korea’s policies and programs for employing older people. Using this method, "Understanding Employment Policies for Older Workers in South Korea (A Biographical Narrative Research)" presents "the policy and practice context of the employment of older people...to help readers understand in greater depth their life stories and experiences and to construct their perspectives on employment policies and practices for older people in the social, political, economic, historical and cultural context of South Korea."

The authors state that "society should develop not only suitable conditions for older people to work in, but also ways of giving older people the chance to improve their capacity to compete in the labor market in order to increase the employment rate of older workers." They also recommend that further research should listen to the stories of unemployed older people about age discrimination in the labor market.

Source: Indian Journal of Science & Technology Abstract Volume 8, Issue 18 (August 2015)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Study Finds Most Employers Making Changes To Retain Older Workers

A study from LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute has found that 92% of employers are taking specific action to help older workers stay on the job, with two-thirds offering flexible hours, and 42% offering flexibility on where employees work such as, working from home or other locations. Other adjustments include job training/re-skilling and job sharing.

According to LIMRA, a more mature workforce is good for business. Eight in 10 employers said their organizations lose experience, institutional knowledge and leadership when an older worker leaves. In addition, LIMRA reports that anticipated shifts in the labor force affect a company’s benefit plan design. Among the challenges cited by employers were increased healthcare benefits costs, with half saying they plan to absorb the costs into the business, while 40% will pass on cost increases to employees.

Source: LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute "Nine in 10 employers taking steps to keep older workers on the job" (August 11, 2015)

Friday, July 31, 2015

Research Project Issues State-by-State Scorecards on Economic Readiness for Retirement

The National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS) has published an analysis which indicates that Americans in nearly every state will fall far short in meeting their economic needs in retirement. According to "The State Financial Security Scorecards" research project—which gauges the retirement readiness of future retirees in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia in three key areas: anticipated retirement income; major retirement costs like housing and healthcare; and labor market conditions for older workers—even the highest-ranking states due to their relatively strong labor markets and lower retiree costs, hare weak in terms of potential retirement income for retirees.

According to Diane Oakley, NIRS executive director:
The retirement savings shortfall has become increasingly important at the state level because policymakers know it can have a deep impact on strained state budgets. The largest source of retirement income for most Americans is Social Security, but this critical federal program typically provides only a part of the income working families need to be self-sufficient. State programs must fill the gap and help Americans meet their most basic needs for food, shelter and medicine. The good news is that some states like California and Illinois already have enacted legislation to reduce future retiree poverty by encouraging workers to save today.
In addition to publishing the 51 scorecards, NIRS held a webinar to review the project's findings, hearing from Oakley, as well as Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Task Force on Retirement Security for All Marylanders chair and former Maryland lieutenant governor, and Hank Kim, National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems executive director.

Source: National Institute on Retirement Security Press Release (July 30, 2015)

Additional sources: ThinkAdvisor "12 Weakest States for Retirement Security: NIRS" (August 11, 2015)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Hong Kong: Flexibility Seen as Key to Retention of Older Workers

According to a survey conducted by Regus, 86% of respondents in Hong Kong see flexible working a critical factor in keeping older, experienced workers in the economy, as compared to 84% worldwide. Regus reports that, according to population projections by the Hong Kong SAR Government Census and Statistics Department, one in five Hong Kong people will be aged 65 or above by 2023. In addition, it notes that, in 2014, the Hong Kong SAR government extended the retirement age of newly hired civil servants from 60 to 65 to tackle the problem of an aging population and a shrinking workforce.

The key findings of the research show that:
  • 81% of respondents globally, 88% in Hong Kong, 94% in Taiwan and 92% in Mainland China think that governments should increase employees’ awareness of their right to work flexibly;
  • 86% of respondents globally, 87% in Hong Kong, 91% in Taiwan and 94% in Mainland China believe that governments should be promoting flexible working by offering firms tax incentives that encourage it;
  • 88% of respondents globally, 92% in Hong Kong and Taiwan as well as 94% in Mainland China confirm that flexible working is key to keeping those who care for a relative in employment so that they can better juggle the demands of their family and their professional life.
Source: Regus Press Release (June 27, 2015)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Australia: Survey of Older Workers Finds Workers Optimistic about Staying in the Workforce

According to a report issued by the Financial Services Council and Commonwealth Bank, 71% of older workers across Australia are optimistic about staying in the workforce, and 72% are willing to stay in the workforce for longer. The 2015 Older Workers Report also found that for 61% of the older workers, financial security is the major reason to keep working, followed by reasons such as personal enjoyment, a sense of accomplishment, and freedom and independence. In addition, the report found:
  • Older workers would like to work for an average of six years longer
  • One in three 60-64 year olds expect to work for another 5 years but only 10% for another ten
  • 41% of respondents expect to be paid exactly the same as any equivalent employee
  • 69% of older workers have not applied for a job since turning 50
  • Job satisfaction remains a key driver for 52% of those who have not applied for a new job
  • 17% of older workers have been made redundant since turning 50
  • Females are more likely than males to not apply for a job once made redundant
  • 61% of older workers have been offered training/ up skilling services at the workplace and
    taken them up
  • 55% have a preference for working part time for their remaining working life
  • 65% are satisfied they have sufficient funds to put aside for retirement
Source: Financial Services Council Press Release (July 27, 2015)

Organizaions Establish New Resource for Older Adults To Prepare for, Find, and Apply for Jobs

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) and RetirementJobs.com have announced the join creation of EconomicCheckUp.org to "provide a unique, single resource for older adults to prepare for, find, and apply for jobs." Specifically, the new website will provide an employment path that includes:
  1. Skills Assessment—Often older workers don’t fully understand their skill assets. The Quick Job Match online tool helps them identify their strengths and identify transferable skills.
  2. Online Training—To land the right job, workers need the right skills. The site’s Career Development System provides more than 30 online courses. Classes are free and can be an important addition to a resume.
  3. Help Finding a Job—It takes a great resume and good interview skills to make the right impression. The site offers helpful tips, and RetirementJobs.com can help visitors find just the right mature worker friendly employer to impress.
Source: National Council on Aging Press Release (July 28, 2015)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

OAS Approves Convention Protecting Rights of Older Persons

The member states of the Organization of American States (OAS) has approved a convention to promote, protect and ensure the recognition and the full enjoyment and exercise, on an equal basis, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of older persons, in order to contribute to their full inclusion, integration and participation in society. According to the Inter-American Convention on Protecting the Human Rights of Older Persons, which was immediately signed by the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica and Uruguay, an older person is a:
person aged 60 or older, except where legislation has determined a minimum age that is lesser or greater, provided that it is not over 65 years. This concept includes, among others, elderly persons.
In addition to banning discrimination against older persons, the Convention provides for a "right to work," which signatories are obligated to protect through enabling legislation:
Article 18
Right to work

Older persons have the right to dignified and decent work and to equal opportunity and treatment on the same terms as other workers, whatever their age.

States Parties shall adopt measures to prevent labor discrimination against older persons. It is prohibited to make any kind of distinction that is not based on the specific requirements of the job, in accordance with domestic laws and local conditions.

The same guarantees, benefits, labor and union rights, and pay should apply to all workers in the same employment or occupation and for similar tasks and responsibilities.

States Parties shall adopt legislative, administrative, and other measures to promote formal work for older persons and to regulate the various forms of self-employment and domestic work, with a view to preventing abuse and ensuring them adequate social coverage and recognition for unremunerated work.

States Parties shall promote programs and measures that will facilitate a gradual transition into retirement, for which they may rely on the participation of organizations representing employers and workers, as well as of other interested agencies.

States Parties shall promote labor policies that take account of the needs and characteristics of older persons, with the aim of fostering workplaces that are suitable in terms of working conditions, environment, work hours, and organization of tasks.

States Parties shall encourage the design of training and knowledge-certification programs in order to promote access for older persons to more-inclusive labor markets.

Source: Organization of American States Press Release (June 15, 2015)

Additional sources: Patricia Barnes Blog Post: American Convention on Protecting the Human Rights of Older Persons (August 1, 2015)