Friday, October 31, 2008

United Kingdom: Survey Suggests Older Workers May Bear Brunt of Redundancies

According to the CIPD/KPMG Labour Market Outlook "Redundancy Special," a survey of 721 UK employers suggests that older workers are set to bear the brunt of redundancies in the year ahead. Specifically, 26% of employers have contingency plans to make new or further redundancies in the next twelve months in addition to those already planned, and almost one in five employers say that they are going to enforce the Government’s retirement age policy--which allows UK organizations to make workers over 65 redundant without having to provide a business reason for doing so--more vigorously.

Source: CIPD Press Release (October 31, 2008)

Pennsylvania: Census Bureau Issues Profile of the Older Worker

In a continuation of its partnership with 31 states on a series of reports on workers 55 and older, the Census Bureau has released its report on Pennsylvania, the 20th state to be released in the series. Among the highlights of the report--"The Geographic Distribution and Characteristics of Older Workers in Pennsylvania: 2004":
  • 16.0% of workers were 55 and older, while 3.6% were 65 and older;
  • statewide, the educational services industry had the highest proportion of or workers 55 and older, with 21.9% of its workers in that age group; and
  • the state's manufacturing industry employed the greatest number of older workers, with about 16.7% of the workers 55 and older being in that sector.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics What's New (October 30, 2008)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Survey: Economic Environment Leading to Delayed Retirements in United States

A survey of retirement plan sponsors conducted by International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans finds that plan participants appear to be responding to the current economic and financial crisis by delaying retirement, saving less, and re-aligning their retirement investments. Specifically, 46% of plan sponsors stated their employees and plan participants are considering delayed retirement, and 38% noted that their employees are concerned about not saving enough for retirement.

In addition to reporting a jump in the number of plan participants considering delaying retirement, the report "Plan Sponsors and Participants: Partners in Times of Crisis" finds that a quarter of plan sponsors citing an increase in the actual number of eligible workers postponing retirement. With respect to investments, nearly 30% of respondents report that defined contribution plan participants have decreased their overall retirement plan contributions and 34% believe plan participants have reduced their exposure to equities in favor of less risky investment alternatives.

Source: International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans Press Release (October 29, 2008)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

United Kingdom: Survey Shows Continued Age Discrimination Affecting Older Workers

According to a survey conducted by the Age and Employment Network (TAEN), only 10% of surveyed jobseekers in the United Kingdom aged 50 and over could say they had never experienced age discrimination when looking for work. In addition, just 13% thought the UK age discrimination legislation introduced in October 2006 had helped older people find work.

TAEN's "Survey of Jobseekers Aged 50+" also surveyed employer perceptions. While 67% of jobseekers felt they had the right skills for today’s labour market, 63% believed they were seen as too old by employers and 42% said they were seen as too experienced or over-qualified.

Chris Ball, Chief Executive of TAEN , commented:
We began gathering responses to our survey in January 2008, before the labour market slowdown and the crisis in financial markets started to bite. Our data represents responses from older jobseekers in a context when personal financial worries were probably less grave. We cannot but be concerned that the over-50s are going to face even greater barriers as the economy deteriorates.
Source: The Age and Employment Network Press Release (October 27, 2008)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

AARP Study Reports Most Older Works Intend To Work into "Retirement" Years

An AARP survey has found that 70 percent of mature workers plan to work into what they view as their retirement years. Updating a 2002 survey, "Staying Ahead of the Curve 2007: The AARP Work and Career Study" reports that 27% of the 45-75 year olds questioned cited a need for money as the reason for continuing to work, while 21% attributed their decision to work in retirement to the fact that they enjoy working.

The study also reported that 51% of those interviewed said they plan to work part-time in retirement, while 29% do not plan to work. Another 11% plan to start their own business or work for themselves, while 6% plan to work full-time.

Included in the final report is a "Blueprint For Change" section that focuses on creative policies utilized by progressive employers. Among other things, these best practices include flexible schedules and work arrangements, cCompetitive health and other benefits, restructuring jobs or workplaces to accommodate employees’ unique needs later in life, recharging late-career workers with updated training, and utilizing knowledge retention strategies.

Source: AARP Press Release (October 20, 2008)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Canada: Conference Board Report Suggests Employers Not Making Efforts To Retain Mature Workers

The Conference Board of Canada has released a research report suggesting that while Canadian employers are worried about a rapidly aging workforce, they are not putting their money--or their human resources policies--into innovative ways to retain them. According to "Harnessing the Power: Recruiting, Engaging, and Retaining Mature Workers," authored by Karla Thorpe, most "organizations have not yet targeted specific human resources programs and policies to their mature workers. This is limiting their ability to attract, retain, and engage this increasingly important segment." Specifically, only 11% actively try to recruit mature workers with measures such as rehiring former employees and offering flexible hours or phased retirement.

On the hiring side, however, the Conference Board found employers to be a lot more active with regard to enticing mature workers back into the workforce. For organiazations that specifically recruit older workers, 73% report success in hiring them; for organizations taking a more general approach, only 23% report success attracting mature workers.

The report concludes that employers will need to invest in a better understanding of the motivations, needs, and preferences of this cohort in order to ensure organizational success as the post–war baby boom ages. It also singled out some employers that have responded to an aging workforce with innovative solutions.

Sources: Conference Board Executive Summary (October 2008); Canwest News Service "Mature workers need wooing: Conference Board" (October 17, 2008)

Survey: Older Workers Less Inclined To Impress Boss To Ensure Job Security

A recent Ranstad USA survey suggests that the turbulent economy may be forging stronger ties as employees look to shore up their job security, but that older employees are less inclined to flexibility. While 72% of employees would do something to impress their boss, this declines to 62% for workers 55 and older. Similar differences appear for each of the kind of thing than an employee might be willing to do to create more job security:
  • take on additional work or responsibilities: 57% overall, 53% mature employees;
  • work overtime to create more job security: 47% of all employees, 36% mature employees;
  • stay late/come in early to show additional face time: 40% all employees, 22% mature employees;
  • social with boss outside of office: 15% all employees, 4% mature employees;
  • do personal favors, such as run errands: 11% all employees, 8% mature employees.
Overall, the survey finds that 77% of employees said they positively relate to their boss and 64% characterize their bosses in complimentary terms. Ranstad USA suggests that this "level of favorability may be a direct result of companies’ recent focus on creating better workplace environments and designing more employee-centric programs and tools."
"Employees’ professional development and morale should always be a priority for employers, and especially in an economic slowdown when employees may feel additional burdens," said Eric Buntin, managing director, marketing and operations for Randstad USA. "A healthy employee-employer relationship based on mutual respect greatly contributes to an overall positive workplace attitude. Employers who connect with their employees create an environment where workers are more engaged in their jobs and, thus, more productive. This can positively impact the bottom line."
Source: Ranstad USA Press Release (October 20, 2008)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Survey: Nonprofit Employers See Appeal in Hiring Encore Workers

According to a survey published by MetLife Foundation and Civic Ventures, 50% of nonprofit employers see encore workers--employees who have finished their midlife careers--as highly appealing, with an additional 39% finding them moderately appealing. In addition, the survey finds that nonprofits with experience hiring late-career or recently retired workers are the most positive (53% versus 40%) about hiring more.

Other findings reported in "Tapping Encore Talent: A MetLife Foundation/Civic Ventures Survey of Nonprofit Employers" include: (1) 69% of nonprofit employers rate the valuable experience encore workers bring to the job as a significant benefit, and 67% say the same about encore workers’ commitment and reliability; and (2) 25% of the employers expressed "serious concerns" that encore workers could demand higher salaries, 23% that workers would be reluctant to learn new technology, 20% that they would lack technical/professional skills, adn 19% that they could have higher insurance/benefit costs.

In addition to detailing the survey results, the report includes an essay and several commentaries on the use of boomers in second careers by nonprofit employers.

Source: Civic Ventures News Release (October 16, 2008)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Research Study Evaluates Government Programs in United States Helping Older Workers Obtain New Skills

A report by Heldrich Center researchers Carl Van Horn, Ph.D. and Maria Heidkamp reviews the federal government resources available to assist older unemployed job seekers and highlights examples of initiatives undertaken by states, community colleges, nonprofits and community-based organizations, and the private sector to help older workers find another job.

The study, also published as an issue brief by the Sloan Center on Aging & Work--"Older and Out of Work--Employer, Government and Nonprofit Assistance"--follows up on their earlier work. Among their conclusions is that only a small percentage of older unemployed workers will receive post-layoff assistance from their former employer and that finding that next job is likely to be difficult and time consuming--considerably more so than for younger job seekers—-and may require them to prepare for a new
career in a new industry.

While some primarily large employers do provide employees sufficient advance notice of a layoff and access to a range of outplacement and other services, small and mid-sized employers may not have the resources to offer post-layoff benefits. "They may need to seek opportunities to partner with government and nonprofit agencies in order to provide assistance to their older workers targeted for layoff. These opportunities may include participating in regional talent and skills alliances and sector strategies."

Source: John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development Home Page (October 16, 2008)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Washington: Census Bureau Issues Profile of the Older Worker

In a continuation of its partnership with 31 states on a series of reports on workers 55 and older, the Census Bureau has released its report on Washington, the 19th state to be released in the series. Among the highlights of the report--"The Geographic Distribution and Characteristics of Older Workers in Washington: 2004":
  • 13.2% of workers were 55 and older, while 2.6% were 65 and older;
  • statewide, the utilities industry had the highest proportion of or workers 55 and older, with 23.3% of its workers in that age group; and
  • the state's health care and social assistance industry employed the greatest number of older workers, with about 15.3% of the workers 55 and older being in that sector.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics What's New (October 15, 2008)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tennessee: Census Bureau Issues Profile of the Older Worker

In a continuation of its partnership with 31 states on a series of reports on workers 55 and older, the Census Bureau has released its report on Tennessee, the 18th state to be released in the series. Among the highlights of the report--"The Geographic Distribution and Characteristics of Older Workers in Tennessee: 2004":
  • 14.1% of workers were 55 and older, while 3.0% were 65 and older;
  • statewide, the utilities industry and the mining industry had the highest proportion of or workers 55 and older, both having 20.4% of its workers in that age group; and
  • the state's manufacturing industry employed the greatest number of older workers, with about 20.7% of the workers 55 and older being in that sector.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics What's New (October 14, 2008)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Cyprus: Government Launches Campaign To Encourage Retaining Older Workers

Cyprus Labour Minister Soteroulla Charalambous, in launching the ministry’s "Grey Hair, Experienced Hands" campaign argues that older workers do not only have the right to employment but are also a fountain of knowledge and experience that can and should be utilised by businesses and organizations. “We want to put out the message that employment is for all,” she said.

According to press reports, the campaign campaign is in line with the EU’s Lisbon Strategy and "seeks to encourage the employment of older workers and lifelong learning, to create more and better quality job positions that ensure workers’ health and safety, better remuneration, more flexibility at work to allow better work-life balance, and to promote measures that allow older workers access to an increasingly competitive and changing job market."

While Cyprus far, Cyprus compares favourably in the 55-64 age bracket with an unemployment rate of just 3.1% as opposed to the EU-27’s 5.6%, like the rest of Europe, Cyprus faces a different labor market with an increasing ageing population, new technology and increased competition. In order to keep older workers active for longer, the ministry will, among other things, look improving the quality of employment for older workers, target workers and employers to spread the message that the 55-64 age bracket was a social group that was older and experienced and could enrich the economy, their own lives and businesses, and tackle unfair dismissal, discrimination, and stereotypes about older workers.

Source: Cyprus Mail "Campaign aims to battle ageism at work " (October 12, 2008)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Sun Life Creates Unretirement Index: Measures Attitudes and Expectations towards Iissues Influencing Retirement

Sun Life Financial, Inc., had released its Unretirement Index to track the changing attitudes and expectations American workers have regarding retirement. It plans to release the Index multiple times each year and use it to gauge how economic, financial and societal forces are affecting working Americans, and forecast their future retirement decisions.

According to its initial release, 48% of the U.S. workforce believes it will still be working at the traditional retirement age of 67, and four of the five top reasons given were not financial in nature. Thus, for example, the most cited reason for continuing to work (83%) was "to stay mentally engaged."
"As our workforce evolves and attitudes are impacted by economic conditions and world events, the nature of retirement in America evolves as well," said Bob Salipante, President, Sun Life Financial U.S. "Traditional views on retirement are quickly evolving and more Americans are choosing to be unretired. This Index for the first time shows how changes in the economy, politics, healthcare and lifestyle are all critical factors in more and more Americans choosing to continue working during traditional retirement years."
Source: Sun Life Financial News Release (October 1, 2008)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Canada: Study Looks at Employer Readiness for Boomer Retirements

A survey conducted by the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) in partnership with Life's Next Steps, reports that, while many Canadian employers face retirement levels of 20% or more over the next five years, most admit that they are not fully prepared to deal with this important issue. Specifically, HRPA's "Are Canadian Firms Prepared for the Boomer Exodus from the Workforce?" reports that only 14% of organizations feel fully prepared for "the coming talent shortage," while 23% admit to being "poorly prepared" and 60% say they are only "somewhat prepared".
"Many boomers obviously want to continue working in some way, to remain active and engaged or due to financial concerns," said [Suzanne Armstrong, president of Life's Next Steps.] "HR has an opportunity right now to take the lead in creating programs that help boomers plan for a different kind of retirement, and that encourage good employees to stay involved in the workforce in ways that are practical and flexible. It can be a win-win for employees and organizations. But employers need to act now to create initiatives and incentives aimed at keeping some of these excellent employees on the job in some way."
Source: Human Resources Professionals Association News Release (October 8, 2008)

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Survey: Older Workers Concerned about Social Security and Medicare Promises

According to Watson Wyatt, many workers 50-64, particularly those without employer-sponsored retirement plans, retiree medical plans or other financial resources, do not expect to receive their full Social Security or Medicare payments after they retire. Specifically, 61% of older workers are not confident of receiving unreduced Medicare benefits, and 52% are not confident of receiving unreduced Social Security benefits.

Based on an analysis of a 2007 Watson Wyatt survey of 5,000 older employees, "Social Security, Medicare and Americans’ Confidence in Their Retirement Future" also suggests that confidence in these government programs is partly associated with how secure workers are in their own financial resources for retirement.
"Retirement income has traditionally been likened to a three-legged stool consisting of government plans, employer plans and personal savings," said Mark Warshawsky, director of retirement research at Watson Wyatt. "With the future of Medicare and Social Security uncertain, it is critical for employers and their employees to adequately prepare for future retirement needs."
Source: Watson Wyatt Press Release (October 2, 2008)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

New Zealand: Extending Vocational Rehabilitation to Workers Over 65

New Zealand's Minister of Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) announced that injured New Zealanders who are over 65 and want to return to the workforce will have better access to vocational rehabilitation under a law change that became effective October 1, 2008. According to Street, "People over 65 who are working are entitled to weekly compensation for up to two years if they are injured. Over 65s are eligible for both compensation and superannuation for the first year, but have to elect one or the other for the second year."

Before the change, only over 65's already receiving weekly compensation were entitled to vocational rehabilitation or return to work assistance, and only for up to two years. Under the new law, "they will also be entitled to vocational rehabilitation if they are on superannuation and that period of entitlement will extend to three years and beyond if ACC determines it will help them back into the workforce."

Source: Accident Compensation Corporation Press Release (October 1, 2008)

World Ecnomic Forum Develops Scenarios To Help Aging Societies Deal with Pensions and Healthcare

The World Economic Forum has issued a report arguing that the unprecedent rate of aging in the world is undermining the financial sustainability of traditional pension systems and healthcare and that urgent action is required in many countries. Through the use of scenario thinking, "The Future of Pensions and Healthcare in a Rapidly Ageing World-–Scenarios to 2030" aims to "bring the long-term consequences of ageing societies closer to the realities facing governments, businesses and NGOs today, and help everyone prepare for the challenges and opportunities that they imply."

In particular, the Forum argues that indicates that new forms of collaboration between key stakeholders--individuals, financial institutions, healthcare providers, employers and governments--will be critical to finance the ongoing well-being of current and future generations in a sustainable manner.

Source: World Economic Forum Press Release (September 23, 2008)