Saturday, September 20, 2008

Research: Scope and Impact of Unemployment on Older Americans

A report by Heldrich Center researchers Carl Van Horn, Ph.D. and Maria Heidkamp looking at unemployed older workers finds that older unemployed workers face more significant challenges than their younger jobseeking counterparts. In particular, older unemployed workers take longer to find new jobs, and when they do, it is often in a different occupation, a different industry, and at much lower earnings than in their previous job.

Published as an issue brief by the Sloan Center on Aging & Work, "Older and Out of Work – Trends in Older Worker Displacement" reports that a growing proportion of older adults do not have the option of retiring from work, due in part to rising prices and lack of sufficient savings. Thus, Heidkamp says: "It is time to ask how employment and training programs can be more effective in bringing older unemployed workers back into workplaces where their talents are still needed and valued."
With talent shortages approaching as the Baby Boomer generation reaches retirement age, employers need to proactively ensure that they provide their older workers with a supportive work environment sensitive to their needs. For older workers, this often means providing greater workplace flexibility and benefits packages.
Source: Sloan Center on Aging & Work Issue Brief No. 16 (September 2008)

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