Thursday, December 19, 2013

Connecticut: Legislative Panel Issues Report on Reemployment Challenges of Older Workers

The Connecticut General Assembly's Office of Program Review and Investigations has issued its finding from its study of the challenges facing older unemployed workers (ages 50 and older), including the competing demands to have an income while completing needed job-related training. According to the "Staff Findings and Recommendations Highlights," there are many programs and services to assist with the reemployment of unemployed workers, including older workers, but that only a few programs are specifically for older adults. Accordingly, "there is no comprehensive, easily accessible way for unemployed residents to find out about these resources." Looking at existing programs overall, programs with an on-the-job-training component had a higher reemployment rate of 74% compared with 50% for programs without the component.

The report made several recommendations, including:
  • Prohibit potential employers from publishing job vacancy advertisements that discriminate against the long-term unemployed.
  • Develop summary sheets and informational campaigns to inform job seekers of the resources available, address misperceptions about the state's apprenticeship program, and publicize the advantages of hiring older workers.
  • The CTWorks Career Centers should consider requirement of a professional resume writer credential and expansion of online learning.
In addition to the report highlights, the full report, as well as an executive summary, are available online. The report has been welcomed by the House Chair of the Program Review and Investigations Committee. Source: Office of Program Review and Investigations Studies: Reemployment of Older Workers (December 18, 2013)

Brookings Issues Report on Retirement Trends in 20 Industrialized Countries: Recession Accelerating Delayed Retirements

A report from the Brookings Institution finds that since Great Recession, the trend toward later retirement in industrialized countries has not only continued, but has accelerated. According to "Impact of the Great Recession on Retirement Trends in Industrialized Countries," by Gary Burtless and Barry Bosworth, when the recession began most rich countries were experiencing an increase in labor force participation rates after age 60. In their paper, they examined whether the downturn slowed or reversed the trend toward higher old-age participation rates, using straightforward time series analysis to test for a break in labor force trends after 2007.
Averaging across all 20 countries in our sample, the pace of labor force participation gains has accelerated since the onset of the Great Recession. As noted, the participation rate of 60-64 year-olds increased at an average rate of 0.4 percentage points a year between 1989 and 2007. Between 2007 and 2012 the participation rate in this age group increased an average of 1.5 percentage points a year. In 12 of the 20 countries, the increase in the trend rate of participation change was statistically significant. The participation rate of 65-69 year-olds increased at an average rate of 0.1 percentage points a year between 1989 and 2007. Since 2007 the participation rate in this age group has increased an average of 0.8 percentage points a year across the sample countries. In 13 of the 20 countries, the rise in the trend rate of participation gain was statistically significant. In the oldest age group, 70-74 year-olds, the trend rate of increase in participation rose from 0.05 percentage points a year between 1989 and 2007 to 0.32 percentage points a year after 2007. In 12 of the 19 sample countries the increase in the pace of participation gain among 70-74 year-olds was statistically significant.
While countries that experienced unusually severe downturns, including Ireland and much of southern Europe, represent exceptions to this generalization, the authors conclude that, on the whole, however, the trend toward later retirement in rich countries has not been reversed as a result of the Great Recession.

According to Robert Samuelson, this study suggests that the "We may be witnessing the last gasp of early retirement" and not just in the United States.

Source: Brookings Institution Paper (December 16, 2013)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

United Kingdom: Survey Finds Older Workers Embracing New Careers, Entrepreneurship

A survey sponsored by Scottish Widows has found that 49% of the United Kingdom’s retirees are sparking a retirement revolution by transforming the end of their working lives, with almost one in 10 (8%) choosing to change careers and one in 20 starting their own business. In addition, the survey reports that 30% of working Britons planning to reinvent their careers when they retire, either by starting a new career, setting up a new business, or becoming a consultant.

With respect to retirement expectations, while 71% of retirees surveyed retired around or earlier than the age they expected, 54% of workers over 50 say they will retire later than they initially expected when starting out their career, with 21% believing that they will retire over the age of 70.

According to Wendy Loretto, Professor of Organisational Behaviour, University of Edinburgh Business School, who worked with Scottish Widows on the study: "As our society adapts to an ageing population, the way we perceive and plan for retirement has had to evolve. The reality is that we are not all able to stop working at 65, and this is likely to become even later in the future. With this in mind, people are adopting a new attitude towards this life stage and are starting to view working later in life as a positive opportunity rather than a burden."

Source: Scottish Widows News Release (December 10, 2013)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Utilities Industry Facing Workforce Changes with Generational Shift

According to a new report, workforce changes are re-shaping the risk profiles of power and utilities companies, which may require a systematic approach to help attract and retain core know-how, and transfer industry knowledge to a younger generation. The report--"Power and utilities changing workforce: Keeping the lights on"--from Price Waterhouse Cooper's Power & Utilities Group, finds that, among other things, an accelerated pace at which utilities are losing key workers. For example, the "voluntary turnover rate climbed by a full percentage point between 2010 and 2012, and for high performers and early tenured employees the rate of separation was especially high."

PWC suggests that, while other industries are used to high turnover, the relatively stable utilities industry may now have to rethink both their approach to process and their employee value proposition as they confront the industry's turnover issues:
[T]raditional "word-of-mouth," on-the-job training of utility workers is not sustainable. More than ever before, work processes and procedures should be documented and continuously improved. Explicit governance and controls procedures should be put in place and sustained. Moreover, focused and efficient knowledge transfer and succession planning approaches should align with the operational imperatives of the company.
The report suggests that utility companies have been able to postpone this day of reckoning, since the recession had either forced employees to delay retirement or stay in place as contractors. However, since veteran utilities workers have had the tendency to retain valuable institutional knowledge in their heads and to pass it on orally, this knowledge will be lost as the attractiveness of pensions plans draws this workers away from employment.

The report then outlines questions that utility companies must ask themselves about, and outlines approaches to take with respect to, three areas: (1) knowledge retention and succession planning, (2) operations, and (3) Technology and processes.

Source: Price Waterhouse Coopers Summary (December 2013)

New Zealand: Report Calls for Employers To Adapt Workplace Policies for Older Workers

A report issued by BusinessNZ, Southern Cross Healthcare Group, and Gallagher Bassett is telling New Zealand employers that they will be increasingly reliant on older workers to remain in the labor market in coming years, and that these workers will increasingly require arrangements such as reduced hours of work, flexibility in working time, lighter duties and a degree of focus on transition to retirement. In "Wellness in the Workplace," it is reported that "only 12.6% of businesses have policies or arrangements in place for older employees. Even when results were broken down by broad size of business, there was no significant change in the overall result."

"Of those business that do have some form of arrangement in place, comments typically revolved around reduced hours of work, flexibility in working time, lighter duties and a degree of focus on transition to retirement." According to Phil O’Reilly, BusinessNZ Chief Executive, just because workers are nearing retirement age doesn’t necessarily mean an employee wants to give up work. "It comes down to understanding the external pressures your staff are under. We’ve come a long way in talking about work-life balance for parents, however older workers have equally important reasons for needing flexibility--they may have health issues to contend with, need to care for older parents or, increasingly, take on caring for grandchildren so the parents can return to paid work."

Source: Southern Cross Healthcare Group News Release (December 16, 2013)

Sunday, December 08, 2013

United Kingdom: Government Announces Acceleration in Increase of Pension Age

In his Autumn 2013 speech to Parliament, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced, among other things, that the state pension age must continue to track life expectancy. While exact dates are to be determined, increases to pension ages of 68 and 69 would be accelerated. The full statement from the speech follows:
But we also have to guarantee that the basic state pension is affordable in the future, even as people live longer and our society grows older.

The only way to do that is to ensure the pension age keeps track with life expectancy.

The Pensions Bill, currently going through Parliament, puts in place reviews of the pension age every five years.

Now we set the principle that will underpin those reviews.

We think a fair principle is that, as now, people should expect to spend up to a third of their adult life in retirement.

Based on latest life expectancy figures, applying that principle would mean an increase in the state pension age to 68 in the mid 2030s and to 69 in the late 2040s.

The exact dates will be set by the future statutory reviews and in line with the most up to date demographic data, of which the next update is published next week.
A Background Note from the Department of Work and Pensions on the principles underlying this approach states that the United Kingdom "has decided to use the age of 20 as the appropriate starting age for the purpose of calculating the proportion of adult life spent in receipt" of a state pension, and that the government is currently legislating for a review of the pension age to take place once in every Parliament.

Sources: Gov.UK "Chancellor George Osborne's Autumn Statement 2013 speech" (December 5, 2013); Department of Work and Pensions Background Note (December 5, 2013)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Germany: Study Reports on Professions with Oldest Workforces

A study has been published in Germany identifying which professions are most affected by the German demographics--those with a higher population of over 65's compared to the under 35's. According to "Berufe im Demografischen Wandel," by the Geschäftsstelle der Initiative Neue Qualität der Arbeit (INQA) sponsored by the Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin (BAuA), the most affected professions are:
  • chemical plant workers, and operators of metal cutting machines (Manufacturing Professions);
  • electrical engineers, industrial engineers, chemists and chemical engineers, physicists, mathematicians, and physics engineers (Engineering and MINT Professions);
  • nurses, nursing assistants, midwives, educators, and child care workers (Healthcare Professions); and
  • bankers, and bookkeepers (Business/Commercial Professions).
In all four investigated occupational groups, according to the reprot, between the years 1993 and 2011, the proportion of employees who are older than 55 years increased. Part of it had more than doubled. 

See BAuA's website for other information about demographics and working in Germany. Also, see the University of Rostock's Work and Age Project.

Sources: Mkenya Ujermani "Professions with an Aging Workforce in Germany" (November 18, 2013); Wirtschafts Woche "Demografischer Wandel trifft manche Berufe besonders hart" (October 24, 2013); INQA Press Release (October 24, 2013)

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Malaysia: Research Finds Older Workers are Competent, Performing Well and Are Trainable

In an article published in Employee Relations, Junaidah Hashim and Saodah Wok, both from the International Islamic University Malaysia, report on their investigation of the competence, performance and trainability of older workers of higher educational institutions in Malaysia. According to "Competence, Performance and Trainability of Older Workers of Higher Educational Institutions in Malaysia," based on the assessments made by the older workers themselves and their superiors, older workers are competent, performing well and are trainable. However, the administrative older staff were rated lower by the superior as compared to the academic older staff.

The authors suggest that "the study provides valuable insights into considering of revising the retirement age of academician in higher education sector even higher. Age seems to be an advantage to this group of employees."

Source: Employee Relations Journal Abstract (2013)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Italy: Employers Encouraging Older Workers To Retire Early to Provide Employment

According to a report from BBC News, employers, with government support, are providing incentives to older workers to retire early to help reduce youth unemployment.



Source: BBC News "Older workers in Italy encouraged to hand over to young" (October 30, 2013)

Additional sources: New York Times "Italy: The Nation That Crushes Its Young" (October 30, 2013); Wall St. Journal "'Mancession' Pushes Italian Women Back Into Workforce" (October 30, 2013)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Report: Recession Has Significant Effect on Retirement Plans of Older Americans

The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research has issued a report with the results of a survey exploring the views of older Americans about their plans for work and retirement. Among other things, "Working Longer: Older Americans' Attitudes on Work and Retirement" finds that:
  • the average age of those who report retiring before the recession was 57 while the average for those who retired afterward is 62;
  • 82% of Americans age 50 and older who are working but not yet retired saying it is likely or very likely that they will do some work for pay during their retirement;
  • of those who are currently working, 47% now plan to retire at a later age than they expected when they were 40; and
  • 20% of working Americans age 50 and older report that they have personally experienced prejudice or discrimination because of their age in the job market or at work since
    turning 50, and 44% of those who experienced discrimination have looked for a job in the past five years compared with 16% of those who did not report discrimination.
Additional information, including the Associated Press stories based on the results of this national survey of 1,024 adults ages 50 and over and the survey’s complete topline findings can be found on the AP-NORC Center’s website. Source: Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research Press Release (October 14, 2013)

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Europe: Report Calls on EU and Member States To Maximise the Potential of Older Workers

The International Longevity Centre–UK (ILC-UK) has issued a report exploring how the European Union and its 28 members have responded to the working longer agenda. The report--"Working Longer: An EU perspective"--argues that older people have not been exempt from the impact of the recession, and that governments should put extra resource into tackling ageism and creating the right sort of jobs for an older workforce.

Among other things, the report highlights that:
  • Europe faces significant skills gaps due to demographic change.
  • EU Membership has gone alongside growth in participation of older workers.
  • Across Europe, incentives to retire early have gradually been removed, whilst state pension ages have begun to increase.
  • Government initiatives to support older workers are often poorly evaluated for effectiveness.
  • Governments have not met an EU target set in 2001 to achieve 50% employment rate of older workers by 2010.
The report explores seven challenges for the EU and Member States:
  1. Achieving gender equality.
  2. Skilling up the older workforce.
  3. Supporting older people in the recession.
  4. Matching demand and supply in the labour market.
  5. Tackling ageism.
  6. Improving health. One of the biggest challenges facing the working longer agenda is poor health of older workers.
  7. Recognising the diversity of the working experience.
The report argues that European decision-makers and member states should take a life course approach, make better use fiscal incentives, create more, better and more appropriate jobs, address inequalities, and deliver a targeted research agenda. Source: International Longevity Centre Press Release (September 4, 2013)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

United Kingdom: Study Shows Older Workers Are as Productive as Younger Counterparts

According to research released by AgeUK, despite assumptions made by many employers, older workers are motivated and willing to work as flexibly as younger workers. The research investigating the evidence behind common perceptions about older workers was carried out by Essex Business School, University of Essex.

Among other things, the review found that, while there was evidence of decline in some physical attributes in some, but not all, older workers, there was little sign of a decline in overall productivity because older workers compensated with skills and experience. Furthermore, while there is evidence to suggest that while younger people might be typically faster at carrying out repetitive tasks, older people are often faster at carrying out complex tasks that allow them to draw on their contextual knowledge and years of work experience.
Dr Kathleen Riach, Reader in Management at Essex Business School who carried out the study said, ‘Our review found that stereotyped perceptions about older workers don’t stand up to scrutiny.

'Our work indicates that age doesn’t determine a person’s commitment and productivity levels at work. Other socioeconomic and psychological factors are much better indicators of the way older people behave.’
Source: AgeUK Press Release (August 28, 2013)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Norway: OECD Issues First Country Report on Encouraging Labor Participation by Older Workers

The OECD, as part of its aging and employment policies program to review of policies to encourage greater labor market participation at an older age by fostering employability, job mobility, and labor demand, has issued its first country report. In "Ageing and Employment Policies: Norway 2013. Working Better with Age," the OECD finds that Norway is better placed to cope with population ageing than most other countries, but that it could still do more to improve incentives and opportunities for people to stay working longer which would help ensure the country’s long-term future.

According to the report, Norway has the fourth-highest employment rate for the age group 55-64 in the OECD area, at 71% in 2012, but Norway’s labor market has a large share of older people on disability benefit: 19.6% of those aged 55-59 in the first quarter of 2012, and 30.5% of those aged 60-64. Among other things, (1) old age pensions for disabled people are to a large extent calculated as they were in the former pension system, and economic incentives to work are not much changed for public sector employees, (2) there is not enough consistency in the setting of age limits in the accrual of additional pension rights, employment protection legislation and other rules concerning mandatory retirement, and (3) even if most older workers in Norway are in stable and high-quality jobs, they experience a very low hiring rate, one-third of the OECD average.

The report recommends that Norway:
  • align second-pillar pension schemes for public sector employees with the main principles of the reformed national insurance scheme;
  • strengthen gate keeping to the disability scheme, in order to reduce inflows;
  • ensure greater age neutrality in employers’ personnel decisions, starting with the hiring process. An objective could be for the hiring rate of older workers in Norway to reach the OECD average;
  • simplify and co-ordinate age limit rules, with a view to removing age as a mandatory reason for retirement;
  • Ensure that the legislative and organisational framework is neutral with regard to part-time and full-time jobs, and support initiatives to promote a “full-time culture”.
Source: OECD Press Release (June 21, 2013)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

SHRM and AARP Announce 2013's Best Employers for Workers over 50

National Institutes of Health (NIH) has been announced as the top honoree in the 2013 search for the AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50, cosponsored by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The awards spotlight employers that have implemented programs that help retain, retrain, engage and recruit mature workers, and, among other things, NIH exemplifies the awards goals by providing generous health benefits and a “Fit Plus Program” that strongly supports the needs of employees 50 and over who are beginning or maintaining a fitness program. In addition, full-time employees are eligible to move to part-time work on a permanent or temporary basis.

Scripps Health of Southern California, the 2012 winner, and the 2013 runner-up, offers a number of alternative work arrangements, including a phased retirement program. Employees have an opportunity to gain new experience by working on temporary assignments in other departments, on team projects, and by having access to formal job rotation and mentoring programs. In addition, Scripps employees are able to take advantage of strong health benefits, and wellness-related benefits are used by more than two-thirds of the staff, including flu shots, health screenings, health risk appraisals, smoking cessation programs, health club discounts, physical activity and weight loss programs, on-site massages, and stress management training.

See AARP's website for a full list of the 50 winners, as well as links to descriptions of the employment practices and benefits that garnered their recognition.

Source: SHRM Press Release (June 17, 2013)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

PBS News Hour: Special Report on New Adventures for Older Workers

PBS News Hour has spent a year looking at the factors—demography, economics and just plain personal preference—that help explain what's happening to the American workforce as it ages. In a special project, "Special Report on New Adventures for Older Workers," led by David Pelcyger and Elizabeth Shell, PBS has provided a series of stories listed under Sources below, and an interactive web pages on a snapshot on what getting older is likely to cost one, working for the nest egg, working in retirement, and moving forward.

Sources: PBS News Hour "Without Money to Retire, Paramedic Must Stay Healthy to Keep Working" (June 14, 2013); "Heading Back to Work After Retiring" (June 13, 2013); "America's New Old Workforce: When Your Body Tells You It's Time to Retire" (June 10, 2013); "Will You Work Forever" (June 7, 2013)

Oregon: Aging Workforce Major Factor in Declining Labor Participation Rates

According to a report from the Oregon Employment Department's Workforce and Economic Research Division, the state's share of the population 16 years old and over that is employed or unemployed has fallen to the lowest level since the late 1970s. "Oregon’s Falling Labor Force Participation: A Story of Baby Boomers, Youth, and the Great Recession" explores the three major reasons for falling participation: the aging workforce, younger workers declining population, and the results of the Great Recession.

The report finds that Oregon’s labor force participation rate is at its lowest level since records began in 1976. Specifically, the state’s labor force participation rate peaked at 68.9% in 1998 and declined to 63.4% in 2012. Fully half of this decline can be attributed to the aging population--the movement of Oregon’s population into older age groups accounts for 3.2 percentage points of the overall drop. "In other words, the aging of the population into age groups with lower participation rates brings the overall rate down, even as participation rates in the older groups are on the rise."

With regards to the rise in participation rates of older workers, the report states:
Falling participation rates is not the story for every age group. Labor force participation has been on the rise for people aged 55 to 64 since 1986 (Graph 3). A number of factors are driving this trend. One factor has been improvements in health that allow workers to continue in the labor force longer than workers of past generations. A second factor has been the shift towards a service economy and away from a manufacturing economy. The shift resulted in less labor intensive “blue collar” jobs and more “white collar” jobs that are less physically demanding. A third factor is that workers have to work longer to build savings for retirement due to the move away from defined-benefit pensions and towards 401K plans. Dramatic financial market swings in recent years provide an additional challenge to older workers trying to determine if they have built up sufficient savings to retire.
Among other things, the report also poses the question whether it is time to change thinking that ages 25 to 54 are "prime working age." The report also states that while "Regions and industries with a large proportion of older workers may face a relative shortage of workers as more baby boomers reach retirement age," "there are enough younger people and their participation rates are far enough below historic averages that there should be enough replacement workers if they are given appropriate training and offered sufficient job opportunities."

Source: Oregon Employment Department Reports & Analysis (June 12, 2013)

Research: Older Workers are Not Bringing Down Average Wages, Help Workforce Producitivity

According to research from The Brookings Institution, an aging workforce had not dragged down average worker productivity over the past quarter century in the United States. Instead, Gary Burtless, Senior Fellow, Economic Studies, reports in "The Impact of Population Aging and Delayed Retirement on Workforce Productivity," that improved education among the population past 60 and delays in retirement among better educated Americans have tended to boost the earnings of older workers compared with younger ones.
Using one standard benchmark of individual worker productivity—hourly wages—workers between 60 and 74 now earn more than an average worker who is between 25 and 59. The hourly pay premium for older men was about 22 percent in 2011. For older women it was about 10 percent. Other earnings benchmarks show a somewhat less favorable picture, but all of them show considerable improvement in the relative position of aged workers compared with the nonaged over the past two decades. None of the indicators of male productivity suggest that older male workers are less productive than average male workers who are between 25 and 59.
Burtless points to two factors for the surge in older workers’ earnings: (1) the sheer size of the baby boom generation means that the number of Americans attaining age 60 each year is climbing steeply; and (2) labor force participation rates of adults between 60 and 74 have increased.

Burtless also notes that a major reason for the surge in income is that older workers are now better educated compared with prime-age workers than was the case in the past. "Twenty-five years ago the gap in education between prime-age workers and older Americans was large. Americans past 60 had much less schooling than workers who were younger. That gap is now much narrower."

Source: The Brookings Institution UpFront Blog Post (June 10, 2013)

Friday, May 31, 2013

Australia: Commission Report Calls for Addressing Barriers to Labor Force Participation by Mature Age People

The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) released the final report for its inquiry into legal barriers to older persons participating in the workforce and other productive work. In "Access All Ages—Older Workers and Commonwealth Laws," ALRC makes 36 recommendations that address the areas of recruitment and employment, work, health and safety, workers’ compensation, insurance, social security, and superannuation, with the keystone recommendation being for a National Mature Age Workforce Participation Plan to provide a coordinated policy response to address barriers to participation by mature age people in the Australian labor market.

The ALRC considers that the Report’s recommendations, taken together, will provide:
  • a coordinated policy response to enabling mature age workforce participation;
  • consistency across Commonwealth laws and between Commonwealth and state and territory laws to support mature age workforce participation;
  • a reduction in age discrimination;
    a greater awareness of mature age workers’ rights and entitlements;
  • support for maintaining attachment to the workforce for mature age people; and
  • work environments, practices and processes that are appropriate for mature age workers.
In its response, National Seniors welcomes the report and many of its recommendations, but believes that the report does not got far enough. National Seniors argues that all age restrictions for workers compensation and superannuation should be repealed. Sources: Australian Law Reform Commission Media Release (May 30, 2013); National Seniors Media Release (May 30, 2013)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Australia: Research Finds Organizations Failing To Harness Skills and Talents of Older Women in Workforce

Diversity Council Australia, in partnership with the Australian Human Rights Commission and with Sageco, has released research results about how underutilized older women—those 45 and older—really are and what employers can do to better harness their skills and talents for the benefit of business and the wider economy. According to "Older Women Matter: Harnessing the Talents of Australia’s Older Female Workforce," Australia’s older female workforce represent a sizeable and growing segment of the labor force but that Australian organizations are failing to harness their skills and talents. Furthermore, Australia’s performance in this area lags substantially behind comparable countries, such as New Zealand.

Among other things, the research finds that:
  • older women constitute 17% of Australia’s workforce with 45% of women aged 45 and over now in the labor force compared to 24% in 1978;
  • older women’s participation in the labor market is substantially lower than men’s in all age groups—as much as 17 points lower for women aged 55-64;
  • the most recent comparable data shows participation rates for Australian women aged 55-64 of 54.9% compared to 72% in Sweden, 69.8% in New Zealand, 59.5% in the US and 57.4% in Canada; and
  • employers can reap significant benefits if they review their attraction, retention, transition and flexible working strategies with older women in mind.
Source: Diversity Council Australia Media Alert (May 23, 2013)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Norway: Labor Participation Rates Increasing for 62- ad 63-Year-Olds after Pension Reform

A report issued by Statistics Norway finds that 62- and 63-year-olds work longer than before, although pension reform allows them to retire at age 62. "Yrkesaktivitet blant eldre før og etter pensjonsreformen" ("Labour force participation among older persons after the Norwegian pension reform") looked at two indicators: One indicator is the change in share of the population who are employees. The second indicator is the share of the employees in a given year who are still employees one year after. This second indicator shows the share of the employees who keeps on working, which was one of the main goals of the pension reform. With respect to the first indicator, the report found:

For several years, even before pension reform was implemented in 2011, the share of the population who are employees has had a certain growth for all one-year age groups from 60 year and above. But the change from 2011 to 2012 shows that all one-year age groups from age 62 and above have had a stronger growth in the participation rate, than persons aged 60 and 61. The growth has been particularly strong for those aged 62 and 63, and this applies for both women and men. Further, the growth has been particularly strong for those with secondary education as their highest level of education.
With respect to the second indicator, the report found:
the share of the employees in one year who are still employees one year after, we present figures for those who go from being 61 to 62 years of age. The results show that there was a stronger growth in the share of the employees who are still employees one year after, from 2011 to 2012 than in the previous three years. The growth was clearly stronger for persons with primary school and secondary school than for people with a higher level of education. Still, the persons with higher education have a higher level number of employees who kept on working.
Source: Statistics Norway Publication Summary (English) (April 4, 2013); SeniorPolitikk.no "Seniorene jobber lenger enn før" (April 8, 2013)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Study: Working in Mixed-Aged Groups More Likely To Prolong Working Life of Older Workers

The Centre for European Economic Research in Mannheim (ZEW) has released research results that find that of the various measures more and more companies rely on in order to retain older employees—appropriately equipped workplaces, reduced working hours and performance requirements, mixed-age work teams, general training, specific training as well as part-time work for older employees—people nearing retirement age are more likely to continue working if they feel valued and if they work with younger people. Part-time work, on the contrary, is apparently even reducing the employment period of older staff, and all the other measures looked at have no influence at all on older employees' decisions to stay with their company.

In "Specific Measures for Older Employees and Late Career Employment" (ZEW Discussion Paper No. 12-059), authored by Bernhard Boockmann, Jan Fries and Christian Göbel, the ZEW staff used longitudinal data provided by the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) on older employees aged between 40 and 65 from 2002, observing 1,063 West German companies with at least five older employees are being observed. Approximately, 50% of the companies offered at least one measure for older employees: 36% offered part-time work for older employees (allowing them contract extensions on reduced working hours), 18% offered mixed-age work teams where older employees could contribute their experience and younger employees their recent professional knowledge, 17% general training, 5% reduced performance requirements, 4% appropriately equipped workplaces (considering e.g. reduced vision or hearing impairment), and 3% tailor-made training for older employees.

Source: Centre for European Economic Research in Mannheim Press Release (March 13, 2013)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Productive Aging Programs Help Employees Manage Age at the Workplace

In a post by U.S. News & World Report blogger Philip Moeller, Kristin Tugman--senior director of health and productivity at Unum--outlined the five components of a productive aging program. According to Tugman, beyond mentoring, prospective labor-force shortages mean many employers simply cannot afford to let older workers retire or walk out the door. In particular, in manufacturing and physically challenging occupations such as nursing, employers "are recognizing the creep up in terms of their employees' average age" and the "clear impact of continuing repetitive, hard labor."

Productive aging programs include:
  1. a rigorous demographic analysis of an employer's aging workforce today and projected into the future;
  2. employee wellness programs with specific older-employee components;
  3. chronic condition management, perhaps with special emphasis on obesity;
  4. flexible work environment; and
  5. job enrichment programs, which value older workers and seek to leverage their motivation with respect to their return to work and their staying at work.
Source: U.S. News & World Report "Employers Slowly Enrich Programs for Older Workers" (March18, 2013)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Survey: Youngest and Oldest Workers Share Most Common Attitudes

A survey conducted by Randstad suggest that the age groups that share the most workplace sentiments in common are the youngest and oldest generations; these employees expressed a more positive outlook on their careers than other demographics surveyed. According to Randstad's Engagement Study, 89% of mature workers and 75% of millennials say they enjoy going to work every day, and 69% of millennials and 64% of mature workers finding a positive energy at work. In contrast, only 53% of other generational groups find such positive energy.

Randstad does point out that there are, however, areas of serious difference among those generations. For example, while 57% of millennial respondents would give serious consideration to a job offer from another company, and 47% would proactively seek out a position with a different employer, only 20% of mature workers would consider making a career move this year, and 12% would look for a new job.
"As the average age of retirement continues to increase, employers are not only seeing a wider generational gap amongst their employees, but they are also seeing more generations sitting side-by-side in the workplace than ever before," said Jim Link, managing director for Randstad US. "It is critical for companies to take note of the distinct characteristics, motivations and perspectives each cohort possesses, as well as the overlaps in attitude and workplace desires. In looking at our study findings, companies can dive into what engagement and retention drivers are aligned and not aligned across the different generations to identify and prioritize the largest opportunities to improve employee engagement within their organizations."
Source: Randstad Press Release (March 13, 2013)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

United Kingdom: Lords Report Says Government Unprepared for Aging Population

A report issued by the United Kingdom's House of Lords Committee on Public Service and Demographic Change warned that the government is woefully underprepared for aging, including the need for older people to support themselves through later life, since, for many people, there is a risk that a longer life could worsen the existing problem of insufficient savings and pensions. In "Ready for Ageing?," the report addresses "later working" (one of a wide range of aging issues) and recommends:
  1. The Government and employers need to work to end 'cliff-edge' retirement, by enabling more people to work part-time and to wind down work and take up pensions flexibly. It should be beneficial to defer taking state and private pensions. Employers need to be much more positive about employing older people. The Government should publicly reject the 'lump of labour fallacy' that wrongly argues this will disadvantage the young.
  2. The Committee urges the Government, pensions industry and employers to tackle the lack of certainty in defined contribution pensions and address their serious defects to make it clearer what people can expect to get from their pension as a result of the savings they make.
In reaching these recommendations, the report notes that "working for longer would increase income from work, potentially increase savings, and reduce the time of dependence on those savings. Working for longer can often improve health and brings social and intellectual benefits." However, it understands that "making working for longer possible will require changes to attitudes, as well as policy and practice." To that end, the report includes an appendix focused on working longer, which further suggests, among other things:
  • employers need to be much more positive about employing older people. Employers and employees should adopt a more flexible conception of how and when people move on from paid work as they get older, to their mutual advantage;
  • employers should demonstrate more flexibility towards the employment of older workers, and help them to adapt, re-skill and gradually move to more suitable roles and hours when they want to do so;
  • employers should support those with responsibilities for caring for older people—particularly people in their 50s or 60s who care for elderly parents—to continue part-time or in flexible work;
  • welfare to work policies should also address the needs of older people
Source: Lords Select Committee Press Release (March 14, 2013)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Michigan: Study Identifies Industries with More Older Workers

Jacob Bisel, a senior economic analyst at the Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, has released a report showing that, in just over a decade, the proportion of workers age 55 and older in Michigan grew from one in eight to nearly one in five, and identifying the industries with the highest concentration of older workers, and the most older workers, in the statte. Bisel states that "The growth in the number of older workers is more than just changing demographics, as uncertainty during the Great Recession caused many of Michigan’s older workers to prolong
retirement."

According to Michigan’s Aging Workforce: Identifying Industries with High Concentrations of Older Workers—2013 Update, the transit and ground passenger transportation sector had the single highest concentration of older workers in Michigan, with 36% of the industry is 55 or older, an increase of 1.5% since 2010. In terms of raw numbers, the education services subsector led, with 87,804 older workers (which comprise more than a quarter of the industry).

Sources: Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives 2013 Update; Michigan Live "Rick Haglund: As older Michiganians retire, watch where the jobs will become available" (March 10, 2013)

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Australia: Study Finds Mature-Age Women Consistently Underemployed and Underutilized

The Diversity Council Australia (DCA) reports that mature-age women (defined as 45 and older) earn only two-thirds of the income of mature-age men, have significantly lower workforce participation than men, are more likely to be underemployed than men, and retire earlier with around half the superannuation of men of the same age.

Specifically, DCA finds from Australia Bureau of Statistics data that mature women are:
  • undervalued Women aged in their fifties and above earn 37% less than men of the same age. Women between 45 and 65 are more highly represented among casual workers than men and are twice as likely to have a job with no leave entitlements than men.
  • underemployed Only 47.1% of women aged between 45 and 74 are employed full time compared to 76.9% of men. More than half of mature-age women work part time and 18% of these women (that is 164,500 women) would like to increase the number of hours they work.
  • discouraged The percentage of mature-age female discouraged job seekers has remained consistently higher than that of male discouraged job seekers for most of the last two decades. Close to half a million more mature-age women than men (452,300) are discouraged job seekers.
  • departed Women retire earlier than men (at 49.6 years of age vs 57.9 for men) and with half the superannuation of men although, on average, women live another 3 to 4.5 years longer than men.
DCA also reports that "research clearly demonstrates significant benefits for organisations and the wider economy from attracting, engaging and retaining female mature-age workers." In May, it will be releasing "Grey Matters to Women: Attracting, Engaging & Retaining Your Female Mature Age Workforce" with research on how Australian organizations can implement workforce solutions that better harness the skills and talents of Australia’s female mature-age workforce. Source: Diversity Council Australia Media Release (March 5, 2013)

Friday, March 08, 2013

Europe: Auditors Cannot Assess if Government Initiatives on Older Workers Actually Help

A report issued by the European Court of Auditors has found that neither European states nor the Commission are in a
position to establish how many older workers have gained new qualifications, or found or kept a job after having benefited from an action funded by the European Social Fund (ESF). According to "Are Tools in Place to Monitor the Effectiveness of European Social Fund Spending on Older Workers," the necessary tools to provide relevant and reliable information that ESF spending is meeting the European Union's strategic objective of increasing the employment rate of older workers have not been put in place by most audited member states.

Accordingly, the Court is recommending that, among other things, the Commission should require member states to design their operational programs (OPs) in such a way that the performance of the ESF funds can be measured. Specifically, the target populations should be unambiguously defined and relevant, quantified operational goals and indicators should be
defined to measure outputs, results and specific impacts at target population group level. Intermediate milestones should be set and a hierarchy of target values established. In addition, it should obtain consistent and reliable information from the Member States in order to be able to provide appropriate information on the means mobilized and the results achieved by the ESF.

The report notes that there were 117 ESF OPs for the 2007–13 programming period, of which 63 addressed older workers in at least one of the following aspects--(a) the OP explicitly identifies older workers as a target group, (b) the OP defines specific indicators to monitor the progress made for this group, or (c) funds were allocated for measures encouraging active ageing and prolonging working life.

Source: European Court of Auditors Press Release (March 5, 2013)

United Kingdom: Study Finds Women and Husbands Working Longer Since Female Pension Age Was Raised

The change at which age women can first receive a state pension in the United Kingdom has had a strong effect in increasing employment among those women directly affected by the reform, but has also changed the behaviour of some of the husbands of the affected women, according to new research. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies Working Paper ("Incentives, shocks or signals: labour supply effects of increasing the female state pension age in the UK"), the affect on men may possibly be because they are delaying their own retirement so they both retire together or perhaps to cover their wives’ lost pension income with additional earnings.

Under legislation enacted in 1995, since April 2010 the age at which women can first receive a state pension has been rising from 60. It is currently at 61 years and 5 months and is due to rise to 66 by 2020. The findings show that, as a result of the one year increase in the female state pension age--from age 60 to 61--that occurred between April 2010 and April 2012:
  • employment rates among 60 year old women have increased by 7.3 percentage points: in other words, in April 2012 there were 27,000 more women in work than there would otherwise have been;
  • employment rates among their husbands have increased by 4.2 percentage points: in other words, there were 8,300 more men in work than there would otherwise have been;
  • 1.3 percentage points more women aged 60 were unemployed: in other words, there were 5,000 more women aged 60 not in work but looking for work than there would otherwise be;
  • the UK’s public finances have been strengthened by around £2.1 billion.
According to Jonathan Cribb, a research economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies and a co-author of the report:
So, despite the weak performance of the UK economy over these two years, many have been able to limit the loss of state pension income through increased earnings. These results apply only to the first groups affected and how women and men respond may change as the pension age rises further. But this is initial evidence that raising pension ages can have significant positive effects on employment.
Source: Institute for Fiscal Studies Press Release (March 8, 2013)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

United Kingdom: Guide Published for Employing Older Workers

The United Kingdom's Department for Work and Pensions has published a guide for employers on today’s multi-generational workforce. "Employing Older Workers. An employer’s guide to today’s multi-generational workforce" is drawn from from employers who report clear business benefits from
effectively managing an ageing multi-generational workforce and provides answers to employer questions and offers non-bureaucratic solutions tried and tested by employers of various sectors and sizes.
It also addresses misconceptions about employing older workers concerning productivity, up-skilling, health and ‘blocking’ opportunities for younger workers. Many successful employers report the benefits of employing older workers as part of a multi-generational workforce include:
  • a broader range of skills and experience;
  • opportunities for mentoring new recruits;
  • transfer of skills across the workforce;
  • reduced staff turnover; and
  • improved staff morale.
Source: TAEN News Release (February 19, 2013)

Monday, February 18, 2013

AARP Starts Releasing Snapshots of 2013 Multicultural Work and Career Study

AARP has announced that it is completing work on its 2013 Multicultural Work and Career Study. Following up on studies performed in 2002 and in 2007, the report will provide an in-depth look at workers ages 45-74: their reasons for working, perceived job security, differential treatment received because of age, their ideal work scenario, the challenges they face, their plans for retirement, and more. In advance of the full report AARP has released its first snapshot, looking at African Americans.

According to the snapshot, a large number of older African-Americans are anxious about continuing weaknesses in the economy and small businesses in which they are involved. Among other things, the study reports that approximately 24% of these workers have lost a job in the past five years, financial motives--money (96%) and saving for retirement (92%)--are the top reasons for working (although 91% also report enjoying their job), and 57%have been in the same job for at least five years.

Source: AARP Surveys and Statistics (February 2013)

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Survey: Conference Board Reports U.S. Workers Increasingly Delaying Retirement

According to a new study by the Conference Board, more U.S. workers than ever are planning to delay retirement. Specifically, the Executive Action Report "Trapped on the Worker Treadmill?" shows that, in 2012, 62% of 45- to 60-year-olds reported at least a 20% decline in the value of their financial assets since the start of the crisis (up from 42% in 2010), and that this has led to a 21-percentage-point increase in plans to delay retirement between 2010 and 2012.
“It’s disconcerting that the two years in which the U.S. economy seemed to finally, if fitfully, turn the corner also left so many more workers compelled to change their retirement plans late in their careers,” said Gad Levanon, Director of Macroeconomic Research at The Conference Board and a co-author of the report. “This may benefit some businesses and industries, by reducing labor shortages and skill gaps as experienced workers stick around. At the same time, their delaying retirement can be a significant obstacle to the many companies seeking to cut costs. Mapping out the implications of the trend for individual firms and the economy as a whole means first understanding the drivers behind workers’ retirement decisions.”
According to the report, workers aged 45–60 who’ve experienced a job loss, salary cut, or significant decline in home price are much more likely to have plans for delaying retirement, and the proportion of respondents reporting each of those three misfortunes rose between 2010 and 2012. However, this only explains about half the increase in delayed retirement plans. The remainder, according to the report, reflects larger and longer-term economic and sociological factors, such as shift from defined benefit to defined contribution plans, lower interest rates on savings, better health and longevity, and increasing scarcity of post-retirement health benefits.

Sources: The Conference Board Press Release (February 1, 2013); Human Capital Exchange Blog (February 1, 2013)

Thursday, January 31, 2013

United Kingdom: Survey Finds Average Age Increasing among Employees

A survey conducted by Group Risk Development (GRiD) has found that 33% of employers in the United Kingdom have seen the average age of their workforce increase over the last year, a period following the abolition of the Default Retirement Age (DRA). In addition, GRiD reports that 25% of employers said that DRA removal had enabled them to retain knowledge and experience within their business, and a further 17% felt it had increased the diversity in their workplace.

Other findings from the survey indicate that:
  • 59% of employers felt that the removal of the DRA meant they were
    more likely to recruit employees aged 50 and over;
  • 23% of employers felt that older workers were a store of knowledge;
  • 22% of employers said they were more likely to be loyal to the company; and
  • 14% of employers said that older employees had the ability to motivate other staff.
On the "negative" side of employing a more age diverse workforce, the survey found that 27% of the employers had seen an increase in absence rates or age related health conditions (such as diabetes and arthritis) since the removal of the DRA. Source: m Group Risk Development Press Release (January 28, 2013)