According to the study--"Will Employers Want Aging Boomers?"--by Gordon B.T. Mermin, Richard W. Johnson, and Eric J. Toder, employers value older workers for their maturity, experience and work ethic, but worry about out of date skills and high costs. Future jobs will require less physical demands and more cognitive and interpersonal skills, trends that favor educated older workers, but job opportunities for less educated older workers may remain limited.
The faster growing areas that require education include personal financial advisors, veterinarians, social and community service managers, surveyors, environmental scientists and geoscientists, registered nurses, and instructional coordinators. The list also includes postsecondary teachers, archivists and curators, social workers, management analysts, pharmacists, counselors, and business operation specialists. The fastest-growing area friendly to senior workers is personal and home care aides. Other categories that depend less on academic credentials include usherers, animal trainers, locksmiths, and brokerage clerks.
In their conclusion to the complete discussion paper, the authors recommend that, in order to promote employment at older ages, policymakers might consider the following steps to increase demand for older workers:
- make Medicare the primary payer for workers with employer-provided health insurance;
- reduce legal uncertainties surrounding formal phased retirement programs;
- allow in-service distribution of defined benefit pensions at age 59 1/2;
- better target government training and employment services to older workers; and
- take steps to increase employer awareness of the value of older workers.