Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Prolonging the Careers of OR Nurses as Strategy To Ease Nursing Shortage

Writing for, Scott Williams writes about searches for ways to lessen the burdens and lengthen the careers of perioperative and other nurses as one strategy for minimizing the impact of the nursing shortage. He quotes Patricia C. Seifert, RN, MSN, CNOR, CRNFA, education coordinator for the cardiovascular OR at Inova Heart and Vascular Institute in Falls Church, Va., as saying "We can’t afford to have anyone retire. . . . But at the same time, you can’t work people to death.”

Seifert, who has prepared a paper for the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) 55th Congress, suggests that hospitals that want to keep older perioperative nurses on the job need to look at ways to make their jobs physically easier and less intrusive on their personal lives, such as by finding ways for them to draw on their knowledge and experience, rather than their physical abilities. Even physical demands can be attenuated by, for example, reducing the amount of time a nurse is forced to stand or by reducing the weight of surgical instruments.

Williams also reports on other initiatives. One, a 2006 report--"Wisdom at Work: The Importance of the Older and Experienced Nurse in the Workplace"--sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which advocated flexible hours, increased benefits, newly created professional roles, better-designed hospital equipment and buildings, and an atmosphere of respect for nurses as all things that could help retain nurses longer. Another is a one-day conference titled “Coming of Age: Innovations to Support the Aging Nurse”, that was spearheaded by Ed Coakley, RN, MSN, MA, MEd, director emeritus at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, which resulted from a study in which older nurses said they hoped to work “until their backs gave out or their knees gave out or as long as they were able to physically work,” Coakley says.

Source: "Bright Ideas for Retaining Aging OR Nurses" (January 30, 2008)

Additional Resources: Hodes Research "The 2006
Aging Nursing Workforce Survey"
; Talent Matters "Workforce Planning for Health Care" (January/February 2008)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Singapore: Progress Reported on Enhanced Employability of Aging Population

Singapore's Ministerial Committee on Ageing (MCA) has released a report card on the work accomplished by the Singapore Government on ageing issues, including enhanced employability, one of the four previously-endorsed strategic thrusts. According to MCA, good progress has been made all fronts and further initiatives will be pursued in 2008.

With respect to employability, the report card shows that the employment rate of older residents aged 55 to 64 rose by 2.5% points over the year to 56.2% in June 2007, as a result of a buoyant economy and initiatives implemented. Following the May 2007 release of the final report of the Tripartite Committee on Employability of Older Workers, "more will be done to positively shape the mindsets of employers and employees towards employing older workers and to facilitate the re-design of jobs to make them more suited for older workers."

Source: Ministerial Committee on Ageing Media Release No. 03/2008 (January 15, 2008)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Actuarial Forum on Living to 100 Addresses Challenges Faced by an Aging Workforce

The Society of Actuaries (SOA) held their triennial symposium on high-age mortality and related issues--"Living to 100: Survival to Advanced Ages International Symposium"--and discussed, among other things, the growing challenges individuals face from increased life expectancy and rising healthcare costs and the new opportunities and challenges faced by employers and governments they respond to an aging population.
"The implication of longevity is a huge blindspot for employers, especially since many individuals are looking to retire at age 65 like their parents did before them," said presenter Valerie A. Paganelli, FSA, EA, MAAA, senior consulting actuary, Paganelli Consulting. "There is a major opportunity for employers to embrace and accommodate the aging workforce who are apt to need to work longer in life."
Pagnelli also said that employers can take the lead in helping individuals manage their resources over a longer period "by acting as intermediaries in helping aging employees remain in the workplace to reduce the risk of outliving their assets, which in turn would help strengthen the overall marketplace."

Handouts from the Symposiuim are available on SOA's website.

Source: Society of Actuaries Press Release (January 24, 2008)

United Kingdom: Survey Shows Workers Becoming More Interested in Working Past 65

Nearly 2 in 5 workers (38%) currently aged 50 to 64 plan to carry on working beyond 65, according to a survey conducted by Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). This would represent a significant increase, as currently only 11% of the United Kingdom workforce work beyond State Pension age.

In addition, the survey found that of those who are not planning on working past 65, 31% would change their mind if their employer allowed them to work flexibly and another fifth say that they would be tempted to carry on working past 65 if they were offered a deferred larger state pension.
Charles Cotton, CIPD reward adviser, "On one level the survey findings look very positive, in that they show a strong demand for working beyond retirement age that is as much down to financial as other reasons such as individuals wanting to use their skills and experience. However, it is clear that Government policy could do more to encourage more older workers to stay on by extending the right to request flexible working beyond parents and carers and making pension arrangements more flexible."
Source: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development Press Release (January 25, 2008)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Federal Reserve Survey Evaluates Changing Demographics in Labor Force

A paper written by Riccardo DiCecio, Kristie M. Engemann, Michael T. Owyang, and Christopher H.Wheeler for the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis reviews the evidence of changing labor force participation rates, estimates the trends in labor force participation over the past 50 years, and finds that aggregate participation has stabilized after a period of persistent increases. In examining the disparate labor force participation experiences of different demographic groups, they note that the aging of the baby-boom generation is is likely to lower aggregate labor force participation rates (LFPRs) for the next several decades.
As baby boomers enter successive age groups, their LFPR should fall dramatically. For instance, the 55 to 59 age group had an LFPR of 72 percent in 2006, and the 60 to 64 age group had an LFPR of approximately 53 percent. Among those 65 and older, the LFPR was just over 15 percent. These numbers, coupled with the increasing proportion of the U.S. population beyond their prime working age over the coming years, suggest that successive generations will be unable to compensate for the baby boomers’ exit from the labor force and U.S. labor supply will decline.
In conclusion, they write "the principal challenge in the presence of a declining LFPR, therefore,will be to find ways to enhance the productivity of the individuals that do choose to work."

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review "Changing Trends in the Labor Force: A Survey" (January/February 2008)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

United Kingdom: Study Released on Older Workers in the Construction Industry

The Strategic Promotion of Ageing Research Capacity (SPARC) has released a study of older workers investigating the needs and abilities of older workers in the construction industry and providing insight into how the working environment may be improved to accommodate those needs. According to "Understanding the Older Worker in Construction", led by Professor Alistair Gibb of Loughborough University, one of the most important issues affecting older workers is employment tenure--being directly employed rather than self-employed is associated with a more favourable working environment for the older worker.

The research suggested that by easing the physical burden of the work wherever possible and by developing interventions to encourage all workers to follow safe practice, work-related injury and ill-health could be largely prevented in the long-term, allowing older workers to remain in the industry for longer. While the findings provide much evidence of the desire of older construction workers to remain in the industry, they also show how the attractions of employing young, cheap immigrant labour far outweigh any desire by the industry to take care of its older workers, so that, in effect, the taxpayer picks up the cost of workplace induced sickness, ill-health and injury.

Source: Strategic Promotion of Ageing Research Capacity News Release (January 22, 2008)

United Kingdom: Study Released on Workplace Design and the Older Worker

The Strategic Promotion of Ageing Research Capacity (SPARC) has released a study of older workers that finds that their motivation to continue to work could be greatly improved if more attention was paid to both the way they are managed and their physical working environments. According to "Workplace Design for the Older Worker", led by Professor Peter Buckle of the University of Surrey, this could include small steps to reduce the physical consequences of manual work, such as redesigning equipment and training workers in its use. The research also suggests that scheduling work in a way which respects the capabilities of the older worker may become more important as the workforce ages. According to Buckle:
Our research has enabled us to create a new model which identifies factors important to the ageing workforce. By mapping existing practices to the new model, and by identifying and resolving areas of difference, organisations and managers will be able to maintain and motivate their older workforce.
In addition, the impact of shift work is identified as a cause of some health concerns, as is the working environment (dust, heat and noise), to which older workers are more sensitive, and manual tasks such as lifting and manipulating heavy objects.

See also, a presentation on "Understanding the Design of the Workplace for the Older Worker" at a workshop jointly organized by SPARC and TAEN discussing showcasing the research.

Source: Strategic Promotion of Ageing Research Capacity News Release (January 22, 2008)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Public Partnerhsip Releases Survey and Teams with IBM To Launch Initiative To Lure Older Workers to Federal Employment

The Partnership for Public Service and IBM have launched an initiative to help match government’s critical hiring needs with the talents of baby boomers looking for encore careers where they can find interesting and challenging work. The initiative--"FedExperience Transitions to Government"--is a response to the hard hit the federal government is taking in the war for talent, as more than one-third of the full-time permanent federal workforce gets ready to retire or leave in the next five years.

As a pilot initiative with the U.S. Department of Treasury, the goal of IBM and the Partnership is to identify, recruit, and hire interested IBM employees and retirees and match them to key federal government jobs.
“FedExperience is a win-win-win,” said Max Stier, Partnership for Public Service president. “Boomers get their second career where they can find meaningful work, our government gets the talent it needs to fill looming shortages and the American people get a government that has the talent to service its people.”
At the same itme, the Partnership released a report that lays out the case for, and barriers to, connecting baby boomers with federal job opportunities. Findings of "A Golden Opportunity: Recruiting Baby Boomers Into Government" include:
  • Older, experienced workers are planning to continue working: 71% of workers age 55–59 reported they plan to work for at least six years; 29% for 11 years or more.
  • Old workers’ skills align with government’s talent needs.
  • Older workers are interested in government service: 53% of older workers surveyed are at least somewhat interested in federal government work.
  • Experienced workers who enter government service like it.
Source: Partnership for Public Service News Release (January 17, 2008)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

AARP Adds Federal Agencies as It Expands Its "National Employer Team"

AARP has announced that it has expanded its program connecting 50+ workers with employers who recognize the value of their experience and skills. In growing its "National Employer Team" to 38, AARP added the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Disaster Assistance, and the Peace Corps, becoming the first federal agencies to join the team.

National Employment Team employers undertake a detailed application process to demonstrate their interest in hiring mature workers. AARP’s website provides information on the employers and the positions they have posted on their websites, along with links to each employer’s AARP career page.

Source: AARP News Release (January 17, 2008)

Friday, January 18, 2008

EBRI Report Shows Women over 50 Much Less Likely To Receive Annuity and/or Pension

According to a report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), gender is a “particularly strong factor” in determining the likelihood of
whether a worker age 50 and older receives an annuity and/or employment-based pension income in retirement. Specifically, in 2006, women over age 50 were much less likely than men to receive annuity and/or pension income and if they did the amount was likely to be much smaller.

The study--"Retirement Annuity and Employment-Based Pension Income, Among Individuals Age 50 and Over: 2006; and Finances of Employee Benefits, 1950-2006"--evaluates the impact of gender, age, education, marital status, and other demographic factors in the likelihood of a worker receiving annuity and/or pension income in retirement. With respect to gender:
. . .the study reports that in 2006, some 44.6 percent of men age 65 and older received annuity and/or pension income, with a mean (average) amount of $17,200 per year. By contrast, only 28.4 percent of women age 65 and older received annuity and/or pension income in 2006, with mean pension income of $11,142 annually.
However, going forward, younger women are more likely to receive annuity and/or pension income and the amounts are likely to be greater, since younger women now spend more time in the work force.

With respect to factors other than gender, the study found:
  • The likelihood of receiving annuity and/or pension income increases with age, until the oldest age group (80 and older).
  • More men age 50 and older with a graduate-level education received annuity and/or pension income than men without a high school diploma.
  • Men age 50 and older who were married or widowed were more likely to receive annuity and/or pension income than men of the same age who were never married. However, women age 50 and older who were never married were more likely to receive annuity and/or pension income than married women, but widowed women were much more likely to receive annuity/pension income than either married women or women who were never married.
Source: EBRI Press Release (January 17, 2008)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

United Kingdom: Report Finds Older People Want to Work or Start Businesses

According to a report commissioned by PRIME and written by the economist Christopher Smallwood, some 800,000 people in the United Kingdom between 50 and state pension age are currently inactive but want to work. The report--"Improving Employment Prospects for the Over 50s"--also finds that the majority of new businesses are created by people in their 40s and 50s and that Companies started by older people have a 70% chance of surviving the first five years, compared with only 28% for younger people.
“It is worth putting real money behind a drive to re-employ economically inactive over-50s”, says the report’s author Christopher Smallwood.

“In order to reintroduce them to the workforce, two things are needed: (1) widespread changes in employers’ practices relating to training, retention and recruitment, and (2) a more proactive approach from Government agencies to help people back to work, particularly in the area of self-employment.”
The report says that while there are still a greater number of complaints about age discrimination in the workplace than about any other form of discrimination, a change in employer attitudes and practices of employers, together with a greater focus on the possibilities for self-employment, would do more than additional legislation.

An executive summary of the report is also available.

Source: PRIME Business Club News Release (January 14, 2008)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Europe, China Promote Dialogue on Demographic Aging

On a visit to China, Vladimír Špidla, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, signed an European Union-China agreement to promote policy dialogue on issues of common interest and on long-term challenges in employment and social policy, such as demographic ageing. The agreement--or Memorandum of Understanding--sets up a structured dialogue with China's top think tank--the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences--on future policy challenges in areas such as employment, social security, demography, social dialogue and labour relations.
Another huge problem that China is only now beginning to confront - and which Europe knows plenty about - is an ageing population.

As a result of its "one family, one child" policy and of the fact that richer Chinese now live longer, the life expectancy rate of Chinese men has now risen to 71.3 years, compared with 63.2 years in India.

The EU has so far provided 20 million euros ($28.8 million) in funds, as well as technical assistance and training of civil servants, to help China modernize its pension system.

Such help is not entirely free of self-interest, however. If Chinese workers were granted better pensions and more rights, for instance, this would limit "social dumping" - a term used to describe a country's ability to export cheap products by enforcing only weak labour standards.
Sources: European Commission News Release (January 11, 2008); NDTV "EU advises China on welfare, labour laws" (January 13, 2008); People's Daily "Aging society a common challenge for EU and China" (January 15, 2008);

Australia: Survey Finds Older Workers Becoming Less Loyal

According to a survey of Australian workers, 82% of workers in the 41- 55 year age range and 80% of those in the $80,000 to $99,000 salary range are seeking new employment for personal reasons. Campbell Sallabank, CEO of, which conducted the survey, says that "Job loyalty is out the window for Aussies of all ages as the Generation Y ethos of quick money, quick success and fast promotion spreads across the Aussie workplace."
Gen Y has long been recognised for their job hopping ways and little concern for employer’s interests as they ruthlessly climb to the top of the corporate ladder. Now more mature workers appear to be adopting the "me too" attitude as they join the bandwagon of career success instead of job loyalty.
Source: Press Release (January 14, 2008)

Malaysia: Older Workers Less Confident about Future; Government Encourages Retraining

While a large majority of Malaysians feel safe in their present jobs, confidence declines with age. According to a Gallup International Association poll, 84% of Malaysians were optimistic about their job security with only Norway (85%) scoring higher in a survey of 61 countries. However, only two in 10 respondents over 51 years old thought they could find a job fairly quickly compared to four out of 10 of those below 30 years.

In response to the Gallup survey, Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Fong Chan Onn said that employers need to continuously retrain their workers to keep them relevant, especially the older ones who are set in their ways. Fong suggests that this can help them to adapt to technological and work habit changes. According to a story by Teresa Yong in THe New Straits Times, Fong said: "It is very important for employers to continue retraining and upgrading the expertise of the older group of workers. We also need to re-orientate all categories of workers." Fong also advised older workers to adopt lifelong learning and pointed out that the Human Resources Development Bhd had training programmes for workers of all ages.

Sources: Malaysia Today "Malaysians score high in survey" (January 15, 2008); The New Straits Times "Keep older workers relevant through retraining, employers told" (January 16, 2008)

Friday, January 04, 2008

Canada: What's in a Word? "Retirement" versus "Semi-Retired"

While Canada’s boomer population may be redefining what retirement means, survey by the Investors Group found that 91% do not object to the use of the word "retirement." However, while a similar number (92%) of retired Canadians are receptive to being called "retirees," only 45% of Canadians who are nearing traditional retirement years (those aged 55 plus) want to be called a "retiree."
When working Canadians were asked if they would eventually refer to themselves as “working part-time” or “being semi-retired” (as they reduced their work week in anticipation of formal retirement), half (49 per cent) said they preferred the word ‘semi-retired.’

Canadians in mid-life are less likely to identify themselves as being semi-retired. Forty-five per cent of Canadians aged 55+ prefer the word “semi-retired,” a term favoured by a majority (54 per cent) of younger Canadians under the age of 35.
As for actual retirement plans, the survey found that 19% of Canadians plan to retire between the ages of 55 to 59, 20% plan to retire between the ages of 60 and 64, 30% say they will retire at age 65 or older, and 26% do not know when they will retire.

Source: Investors Group Media Release (January 3, 2008)

Mentoring Roles Can Keep Older Construction Workers on the Job

According to a story by Korky Koroluk, a pilot project to be launched with the Construction Association of Nova Scotia to provide more structure to on-the-job training for apprentices may also help keep some older workers in the construction industry. George Gritziotis, executive director of the Construction Sector Council (CSC), told Koroluk that "journeypersons who instruct and supervise apprentices on the job 'are not hard-wired to do that kind of job,' and more structure is needed so that the industry gets the kind of workforce it needs and could result in mentoring becoming a “designated occupation” in the industry.
He said that older journeypersons with the aptitude and training for mentoring could see it as a way to remain in the industry for another few years.

A lot of what Gritziotis calls “corporate memory” is lost when people retire. Keeping older workers on in mentoring roles would allow them to transfer their knowledge, thus preserving the corporate memory they possess.
Source: Daily Commercial News and Construction Record "Mentoring project in Nova Scotia to aid apprentice training" (January 3, 2008)