Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Senate Aging Committee Holds Hearing on Using Federal Government as Model for Hiring, Retaining Older Workers

The U.S. Senate Special Commitee on Aging Chairman Herb Kohl (D-WI) chaired a hearing titled "Leading By Example: Making Government a Model for Hiring and Retaining Older Workers." Kohl believes that "we must encourage employers to adopt policies now to attract and retain older workers" and that it "is possible to craft commonsense policy to create a win-win situation for both older workers and the companies that employ them." As for his focus on the federal government, he introduced the hearings by stating:
Why the federal government? Because nowhere is the foreseen labor shortage more pronounced than within the workforce of the nation’s largest employer. Over the next five years, more than half a million permanent full-time federal employees—or about one-third of the full-time federal workforce—will be eligible to retire. And over the next ten years, more than sixty percent of the federal workforce will reach retirement age.
Others heard at the hearings (with links to their prepared testimony) included:
  • Senator Gordon H. Smith (R-OR), Ranking Member of the Committee;
  • Barbara Bovbjerg, Director, Education, Workforce and Income Security Issues, US Government Accountability Office;
  • Nancy Kichak, Associate Director, Strategic Human Resources Policy, Office of Personnel Management;
  • Thomas Dowd, Administrator, Office of Policy Development and Research, Employment and Training Administration, US Department of Labor;
  • Max Stier, President and CEO, Partnership for Public Service;
  • Chai Feldblum, Co-Director, Workplace Flexibility 2010
A webcast of the hearing is available by clicking here.

Source: U.S. Senate Committee on Aging Press Release (April 30, 2008)

France: Pension Reform Proposals Aim to Retain More Older Workers

Pension reform proposals in France include measures to raise the number of older people in the workforce, including threatening companies with penalties if they do not increase their number of staff aged 55 to 64 and requiring employees to work 41 years, not 40, to qualify for a full state pension.

According to earlier pronouncements from the Labor Ministry, the Government's aim in building on the 2003 pension reforms is, among other things, to increase the level of employment of older people and to promote freedom of choice of everyone to prepare his retirement.

According to a March 25 letter from Minister Xavier Bertrand, the Ministry has just begun a phase of dialogue with all stakeholders and to solicit proposals from the social partners on various aspects of pension reform. At the end of this first phase of consultation, a policy document will be made public, a document on the basis of which discussions will continue with the social partners.

Sources: BBC News " France says 'take on older staff'" (April 28, 2008); Ministrère du Travail, des Relations sociales, de la Famille et de la Solidarité Dossiers (April 4, 2008)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Singapore: Working Group Issues Advisory on Reemployment of Older Workers

Singapore's Tripartite Implementation Workgroup (TIWG) has released a Tripartite Advisory on the "Re-employment of Older Workers" to help companies adopt re-employment early, ahead of its legislation by 2012. The Singapore government is committed to enact re-employment legislation by then to enable more people to continue working beyond the current statutory retirement age of 62--initially, up to 65 and, later, up to 67.

The TIWG has drafted an Advisory that identifies good practices in areas such as pre-retirement planning and re-employment consultation, job arrangements upon re-employment and re-employment contract durations. The TIWG is soliciting feedback from companies implementing the Advisory.
Chairman of the TIWG and SNEF Council member Mr Alexander Melchers said, "Re-employment is a new concept for many employers. The advisory is meant to assist them, by offering practical suggestions to implement re-employment in their company."
In addition,
Mr Melchers added, "For re-employment to work, companies need to start reviewing and implementing changes to their HR systems and policies, including performance management and wage structures. Companies should do this as soon as possible, because this is not a process that can be accomplished overnight." He also said the re-employment of older workers was another way to tackle the increasing problem of a lack of skilled labour in Singapore
Sources: Ministry of Manpower Press Release (April 23, 2008); Today Online "For those over 62, the shape that re-employment deal could take: (April 24, 2008)

United Kingdom: Manufacturers Becoming More Positive about Hiring Older Workers

A report issued by EEF, the manufacturers' organisation finds that manufacturers in the United Kingdom are adopting an increasingly positive attitude towards employing older workers in order to address the challenges posed by continued skills shortages and an ageing population. According to the report--"An Ageing Workforce--How are manufacturers preparing?" (available to registered users)--manufacturers believe older workers are a valuable part of their workforce--more productive and less likely to be absent than younger workers--and that the more physical nature of manufacturing employment is not an impediment to the employment of older workers.

Sixty percent of the companies surveyed cited "loss of specialist skills" as a significant concern. EEF also reports that manufacturing companies are adopting pro-active approaches towards the use of flexible working and managing rehabilitation: rehabilitation and return to work policies are standard in 58% of companies, rising to over 80% of firms employing 250 people or more. In addition, flexible working hours are standard in nearly two fifths of companies with half of companies employing 100 or more people having flexible working in place.

Sources: EEF, the manufacturers' organisation Media Release (April 20, 2008); The Birmingham Post "Employers outline value of experience" (April 24, 2008)

Sri Lanka: Head Hunter Encourages Rethinking Retirement Age

An article in Sri Lanka's Daily Mirror quotes the vetean head hunter Fayaz Saleem suggests that Sri Lanka's early retirement age (55, and in some cases 60) is creating an "an inopportune problem for those who have no choice but to retire and yet have a portfolio of experience that is worthy of a successful company." HR managers should HR departments should reconsider this age cut-off for the benefit of their companies: instead of shunning older workers, they should be recruited and retained because this of their loyalty and experience.
“This generation shows a strong demand for working beyond retirement for financial reasons as much as them wanting to use their skills and experience,” he says. He adds that in order to reintroduce them to the workforce it is important to enforce widespread changes in employer’s practices relating to training, retention and recruitment. The older professional with the aptitude and training for mentoring could see it as a way to remain in the industry for another few more years.
In addition, Saleem notes that, in light of the brain drain that Sri Lanka is experiencing with younger people, it is necessary "to retain this older generation who are no longer interested in lifespan jobs."

Source: Daily Mirror "A Vanishing Workforce" (April 28, 2008)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

AMA Announces Webcast on Age Curve: May 21

The American Management Association is conducting a free webcast on "Age Curve: Examining the Changing Demographic Landscape." Scheduled for May 21, 2008, from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, the webcast is intended to focus on of the demographic evolution in the United States and on how it will affect markets, product development, customers and "possibly most of all", the workforce.

To register, Click here.

Source: American Management Association Webcast

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Survey: Demographic Changes Require HR Professionals To Focus on Talent Management

A study by the Adecco Institute, based on interviews with 5,000 HR professionals, says that a key differentiator for companies competing in the global marketplace in the future will be having HR managers who focus on finding talent, developing talent and keeping talent--what Adecco calls "talent management"--rather than on its traditional filling of vacancies. Globalization in developed countries has increased the demand for skilled and highly qualified labor at the same time as demand for a qualified workforce is compounded by the demographic effects of older workers becoming the fastest growing workforce segment in most developed countries.

The study--"The new role of HR in the future: Talent, talent, talent. Finding it. Developing it. Keeping it."--reports that the average planning horizon of HR professionals today is only 1.1 years. Talent management will require preparation for a much longer time frame. Adecco says HR practitioners can start on this road today by conducting a detailed analysis of their existing workforce and categorizing jobs into functions, families, and groups based on skills.
Once these groupings have been completed, analyze the age structure of the workforce within each function, family and group. Identify areas that are at risk due to impending retirements or intense competition for talent. Create ‘early warning systems’ that will raise awareness of impending gaps in a timely manner. In a world that demands increasingly complex qualifications, "timely" can mean years in advance--a dramatic change from the "just in time" mantra that businesses have been marching to for decades.
Only then can HR develop a strategy to ensure that the ongoing workforce demands of the business will be met.

Source: Adecco Institute Press Release (April 22, 2008)

Manpower Survey of Talent Shortages, Whitepaper Encourage Retention of Older Workers

Manpower Inc.'s third annual talent shortage survey reports that 31% of employers worldwide are finding it more difficult to fill jobs, with skilled manual trades, sales representatives, and technical workers in the areas of production/operations, engineering and maintenance being the hardest to find. Simultaneously, Manpower has updated its whitepaper on the talent crunch, highlighting the growing talent shortages around the world and what businesses, governments and individuals should be doing to adapt their human resource strategies, and encouraging employers, among other things, to take strategic measures to encourage older workers to stay in the workforce must be put in place.

According to the whitepaper--"Confronting the Talent Crunch: 2008"--"employers can increase their overall pool of available
talent by finding innovative ways to prolong an individual’s active working life." Employers should not look at upcoming retirements as cost-saving opportunities, but need to encourage older individuals to stay on. This may involve redesigning jobs, honing attraction and retention policies, maintaining the loyalty of former employees, and fostering inclusivity.

Source: Manpower, Inc. Press Release (April 22, 2008)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Australia: Minister Discusses Proposals to Raise Retirement Age

Premier Morris Iemma of New South Wales, in the runup to the 2020 Future Summit in Canberra hoped to raise the issue of the potential for lifting the official retirement age. The state of New South Wales is pushing for the retirement age to be lifted because of fears of a massive financial burden. While NSW Minister for Aging, Kristina Keneally has denied that there will be an increase in the age at which one is entitled to the age pension, currently 60 for women and 65 for men, Iemma said that the 30-year-olds of today are looking to have a retirement that will last 20 to 30 years, and it is due to this that a plan must be looked at to deal with the demographic challenge as well as the financial impact.

Source: Post Macquarie News "Keep working, says govt" (April 21, 2008); Scopical "Retirement age could be lifted says Iemma" (April 18, 2008)

Ageist Language Can Hurt the Workplace

According to research conducted by Bob McCann, an associate professor of management communication at the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business, even though demographic trends point to a more age-diverse workforce, ageist language is still to be found in many workplaces, and can have severe repercussions for both older workers and their employers.
"Our research has clearly shown links between ageist language and reported health outcomes as broad as reduced life satisfaction, lowered self-esteem, and even depression," said McCann. The workplace is a particularly fertile and problematic area for ageist communication, given that people derive so much of their identity from work.
McCann worked with Howard Giles of the University of California, Santa Barbara on studies showing ageist language playing a major role in age-discrimination lawsuits. Examples of just some of the hundreds of age-based comments that McCann and Giles report include: "the old woman," "that old goat," "too long on the job," "old and tired," "a sleepy kind of guy with no pizzazz," "he had bags under his eyes," and he is "an old fart."

Source: University of Southern California Marshall School of Business News Release (April 14, 2008)

Monday, April 21, 2008

GAO Reports on How One-Stop Career Centers or Linking Employers and Older Workers

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report looking at the U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL's) actions to help one-stop career centers link employers and older workers and at the actions of the centers to help employers hire and retain older workers. According to "Most One-Stop Career Centers Are Taking Multiple Actions to Link Employers and Older Workers", most one-stops took multiple actions to link employers and older workers; one-stop officials identified some actions as most effective, such as training staff to assist older workers, and often used multifaceted approaches.

The GAO notes that several factors, such at the local economy and how workers' skills match with employers needs, might affect what actions one-stops take to serve older workers and that one factor--the performance measure tracking participants' earnings--might create disincentives for serving older workers who are more likely to work part-time, which provides lower wages. Accordingly, GAO recommends that DOL assess the potential for such disincentives.

Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office Report Summary of GAO-08-548 (April 21, 2008)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Canada: Survey Suggests Health Care Benefits Are Leading Enticement for Older Workers

According to a recent poll of Canadians over the age of 55, health assurances are the best thing an employer can offer older workers to keep them in the workplace. Specifically, Ipsos Reid reports that in a poll it conducted on behalf of Royal Bank of Canada, 60% of those surveyed said that extended health care benefits are the most important factor (top three mentions) in deciding to stay in the workforce. Trailing health care were flexible work hours (47%), having a guaranteed salary (34%), and phasing in the retirement process (24%).

With respect to flexible hours, the general consensus of those surveyed was a workweek running from Tuesday to Thursday, working nine to noon each day. In addition, workers would want an average of 6.4 weeks of vacation per year.

The survey also found that over 54% say they plan on working with their current employer past the age of 65, and, of those, 26% plan on working full-time for as long as possible, while another 36% would like to work full-time for a few years, before scaling back to part-time work.

Source: Ipsos Press Release (April 15, 2008)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Employers Becoming More Proactive in Hiring, Retaining Workers over 50 has issued the results of research that it has conducted findings that the environment for U.S. workers over 50 years of age, and consequent employee and job seeker perceptions, have improved and become "age friendlier" in the past year. As part of its process of certifying companies for its "Age Friendly Certified Employer," has seen an "ongoing, encouraging trend that U.S. employers are increasingly embracing the value of age 50+ workers—as evidenced through increased hiring, support of age as an element of diversity HR programs, affirmative action in providing meaningful employment, flexible work arrangements, training and development opportunities, and provision of competitive pay and benefits to ‘older’ workers."

In addition, its conclusions are bolstered by the findings of its 2008 "Age Bias in the American Workforce" Research Report that will be issued later this quarter.

Source: Press Release (April 14, 2008)

Study Links Retirement Income Differences and Variations in Older Worker Labor Participation Rates

Alicia H. Munnell, Director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College (CRR) and Mauricio Soto and Natalia A. Zhivan, both from CRR, have published a paper exploring the relationship between retirement benefits and labor force participation rates across states. In "Why Do More Older Men Work in Some States?", the first of a two-part study, the authors conclude that, based on aggregate data from the U.S. Census, variation in retirement income does explain some of the interstate variation in labor force activity, even after controlling for differences in the health of the economy, the nature of employment, and the characteristics of the workforce.
Thus, while the availability of benefits will continue to be an important determinant of retirement, these results imply that older workers may be willing to work longer in response to the coming decline in replacement rates — as Social Security contracts and small 401(k) balances produce meager streams of retirement income.
Source: Boston College Center for Retirement Research Issues in Brief No. 8-6 (April 2008)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Study: Occupational Health Workers Not Prepared to Help Aging Workforce

Research conducted by Helen Arnold, an occupational health adviser at the United Kingdome's Ashford and St Peter's Hospitals NHS Trust, shows that occupational health is not getting to grips with the requirements of the aging workforce and that there are "worrying gaps in OH advisers' knowledge on managing the health of older employees."

For example, Arnold's research found that only 9% of those questioned could correctly classify an older worker as aged 50 and above (whereas 39%classified an older worker as aged 65 and above) and that some OH advisers felt the term "older workers" was discriminatory and that they should be treated the same as all other employees. "Consequently, those who are being employed to advise organisations could actually be reinforcing common misconceptions, and potentially putting the health of those they are trying to protect and promote at risk."

As a result of her research, Arnold recommends, among other things that:
  • education, training and curriculum development should incorporate the definition of "older workers" as accepted in the UK, critical overview of the current literature base in relation to older staff with a greater emphasis on evidence-based practice, and use of needs assessment tools in relation to older staff, such as the Work Ability Index Tool.
  • a national policy in relation to older workers be developed, and that all NHS trusts and OH departments ensure they have a comprehensive policy that promotes the health of older workers within the workplace, to include fitness-for-work assessments, voluntary annual health assessments for staff aged 50 and above, and definition and supporting statement of age-management practices.
  • all OH departments annually audit the provision of OH healthcare to older workers, including occupational injuries in relation to age, long-term sickness absence and percentage of successful rehabilitation back to work, and number of older workers who have been redeployed.
Source: Occupational Health "Occupational health and the ageing workforce" (April 8, 2008)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

United Kingdom: DWP Study Shows Retirees ' Unease at Retirement

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) reports that less than half of Britons chose the word “happy” to describe how they felt on the first day of retirement: "evidence the traditional sudden stop approach no longer works for many people." According to the research conducted by Ipsos MORI, while 48% were happy and 31% relaxed, almost one in ten reported being sad (11%), anxious (8%), or lost (8%).

Pensions Minister Mike O’Brien commented:
The idea that one day you work and the next you stop can be a shock to the system. These findings challenge the traditional "one size fits all" approach to retirement. Many of today’s older workers are rejecting the cliff edge between work and retirement in favour of a gradual step down. And employers should help them to do this.
Gordon Lishman, Director General of Age Concern, responded in decrying the "ultimate 'cliff edge'" of the mandatory retirement age of 65 and said The "government must abolish this discriminatory barrier if it is serious in wanting to help older people to continue working." Charles Cotton, Reward Adviser at the CIPD, was reported as responding: "Both our own research and the report published today from the DWP show that people are increasingly eager to work past the default retirement age, for social, personal as well as financial reasons."

Sources: Department for Work and Pensions Press Release (April 8, 2008); Fair Investment Company "Pension and other worries tarnish retirement" (April 8, 2008); Age Concern Response (April 8, 2008); "New research strengthens case for older workers" (April 8, 2008)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Urban Institute Releases Report on Whether Older People Will Respond to the Demographic Challenges by Working Longer

Richard W. Johnson, Gordon Mermin, and Matthew Resseger have authored a report for the Urban Institute describing the job demands faced by workers today, the changes over time in job demands, and the impact of those changes on the employability of older workers. In the report--Employment at Older Ages and the Changing Nature of Work, the authors linked job characteristics data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration to the Current Population Survey to calculate the proportion of workers facing various types of job demands in 2006 and 1971. Employment projections were used to estimate the prevalence of job demands in 2014 and in 2041. The job attributes that were considered included physical demands, nonphysical demands, and difficult workplace conditions. They also examined how job demands varied by demographic characteristics, including gender, educational attainment, race, and age.

Looking ahead, they concluded that the prevalence of job demands will not change much in the coming decades. This forebodes well for the continued employability of older adults. In addition, the authors believe that the increase in cogntively demanding work will not prevent many workers from extending their worklives.

Source: Urban Institute Research Summary (March 28, 2008)

Friday, April 04, 2008

Survey: Older Workers Score Highest on Employee Engagement

A study conducted by Sirota Survey Intelligence of cross-generational attitudes of more than 300,000 workers in over 50 organizations shows relatively small differences among the generations regarding their attitudes toward work and their engagement in their jobs, with those 63 and older showing the highest levels of engagement. Specifically, employees of the "Traditionalist" generation reported an 84% employee engagement level, while the engagement levels of the other groups were within a relatively narrow range of 77-80%: Baby Boomers (aged 43 to 62) 77%, Generation X (aged 28 to 42) 78%, and Generation Y (aged 27 and younger) 80%.

According to Douglas Klein, President of Sirota Survey Intelligence, the Traditionalists may be an overlooked resource for employers:
“They consistently have higher employee engagement levels than other employees with comparable tenure.” For example, Traditionalists with between 2-5 years tenure have an engagement level of 85% – 10 percentage points higher than that for Generation Y and Baby Boomers (75%), and 9 percentage points higher than that for Generation X (76%).

“With more people living healthy, active lifestyles, and so many Traditionalists uncertain whether they will have the financial resources to enable them to retire, they may want to stay in the workforce longer. Employers may want to consider part-time and/or flexible work arrangements to keep more of these loyal, enthusiastic workers onboard,” Klein added.
Source: Sirota Survey Intelligence Press Release (March 31, 2008)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Massachusetts: Policy Brief Calls on State Leaders To Capitalize on Coming Age Wave

The Boston College Center on Aging & Work and AARP have issued a policy brief calling on Massachusetts state leaders to include 50-plus workers in the mix as the state develops solutions to stimulate its sagging economy. The policy brief--21st Century Age Demographics: Opportunities for Visionary State Leadership--provides information to help state leaders nationwide examine the connection between aging and work, and how changes in the labor force participation of older adults will affect their states.
“State leaders must play an active role in developing policy and initiatives to capture the value of 50-plus workers,” says Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes, co-director of the Center on Aging & Work at Boston College. “Most of the attention paid to the aging of the workforce has focused on national trends. However, the thought leadership for economic and workforce development occurs at the state level.”
Among other things, the policy brief suggests raising awareness, encouraging business leaders to respond, expanding resources, benchmarking progress, and positioning Massachusetts as a model employer as ways in which to to advance public sector innovation and increase employment options for 50-plus workers.

Source: Center on Aging & Work at Boston College Press Release (April 2, 2008); AARP Massachusetts News Release (April 2, 2008)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Research: Aging Workforce Requires Business to Rethink Working Lives

Early research into the effects of an extended working life and the challenges and opportunities that an older workforce will generate suggests that--in terms of job performance, wellbeing and skills--older workers are a much less homogenous group than younger workers. According to Professor Philip Taylor, director of the Business, Work and Ageing Centre for Research at Swinburne University of Technology, there is an increasing variation in people’s abilities as they get older and management may need to hink in terms of preparing workers when they are younger, for a longer working life.
"Policy around ageing workers needs to be about maintaining the ‘work ability’ of people throughout their life-course--not just once they are older," Professor Taylor says. "It’s about life-long learning and about how factors such as job design, work environment and skills training determine the condition in which workers arrive at the age of 50."
Among other things, Taylor says that the assumption that older workers are not interested in, or capable of, further training, is baseless, but there is evidence that "older workers prefer a different style of training than younger workers. For instance, they prefer hands-on practical training rather than classroom-style training."
Professor Taylor says another major issue for older workers is a sense of exclusion from the workplace. "Our research shows that older workers often feel they are being pushed out by not being invited to take part in training, meetings or other workplace events." This will become an increasing issue as more workers take advantage of transition-to-retirement arrangements that allow them to work part-time. "Part-time work is often not seen as real work. Managers need to be re-educated to respect different kinds of working arrangements and accept that older workers have a great deal to contribute to the workplace."
Source: Swinburne Magazine "Longer work life needs management re-think" (March 2008)

Also, see Philip Taylor (Editor), Ageing Labour Forces: Promises and Prospects (2008)

Wisconsin: 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 Wisconsin, the ninth state to be released in the series.Among the highlights of the report--"The Geographic Distribution and Characteristics of Older Workers in Wisconsin: 2004":
  • 14.3% of workers were 55 and older, while 3.2% were 65 and older;
  • the real estate and rental and leasing industry had the highest proportion of workers 55 and over (19.6%), and no individual industry employed more than 20% of workers who were over 55; and
  • the state's manufacturing industry employed the greatest number of older workers, with about 22.7% of the workers 55 and older being in that sector.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics What's New (April 1, 2008)

Colorado: Census Bureau Issues Profiles 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 Colorado, the eighth state to be released in the series.Among the highlights of the report--"The Geographic Distribution and Characteristics of Older Workers in Colorado: 2004":
  • 13.2% of workers were 55 and older, while 2.9% were 65 and older;
  • the utilities industry had the highest proportion of workers 55 and over (19.9%), and no individual industry employed more than 20% of workers who were over 55; and
  • the state's retail trade industry employed the greatest number of older workers, with about 13.9% of the workers 55 and older being in that sector.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics What's New (April 1, 2008)

Additional Source: Rocky Mountain News "Work force in Colorado graying around the edges" (April 8, 2008)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

U.S. Economic Troubles Leading to Delays in Retirement

Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Jennifer Levitz reports that "many aging Americans are delaying retirement, electing labor over leisure in uncertain times" as the falling real-estate and stock markets erode their savings. Among other things, she notes how as houses decline in value, fewer people feel confident enough to retire, even if they plan to continue living in them, and as the stock market declines, older workers don't have years to make that up. As a result, they worry that their investments will diminish to the point that they won't have enough money to get through retirement.In addition to anecdotal evidence, she writes:
In February, the proportion of people ages 55 to 64 in the work force rose to 64.8%, up 1.5 percentage points from last April. That translates to more than an additional million people in the job pool, according to the U.S. Labor Department. The ranks of those 65 and over in the work force rose to 16.2% from 16% in the same time span -- meaning 212,000 more hands on deck. So far, the numbers for March continue to show a "sharp" increase, says Steve Hipple, a department economist.
Levitz also reports that investment advisers and retirement planners at more than a dozen firms "say they are seeing large numbers of older workers put off retirement as the housing and stock-market troubles have deepened."

Source: Wall St. Journal "Americans Delay Retirement As Housing, Stocks Swoon" (April 1, 2008); also reprinted in Atlanta Journal Constitution (April 1, 2008)

Virginia: Older Dominion Project Releases Survey, Starts Workgroup on Aging Workforce

The Older Dominion Project (ODP), a non-profit initiative by Virginia businesses, government, foundations, and non-profits to help Virginia ride the age wave created in 2007, has released its ODP Residents' & Business Leaders Studies, indicating broad interest across both Virginia's residents and businesses in starting to prepare now for the coming demographic tsunami. Businesses, in particular, are aware of and concerned about the attendant workforce issues:
Business leaders see the aging workforce and impending retirement of aging baby boomers as an issue for Virginia. Sixty-five percent (65%) of Virginia business leaders say the "aging workforce" is a serious issue facing the entire economy--with a third (35%) saying it is a "very serious issue." Two in five (41%) feel the aging workforce is a serious issue for their own organization. In addition, two-thirds (65%) feel that the retirement of a large number of workers in the future is a serious issue for the economy and a third (35%) feel this issue will have a significant impact on their company. Half of business leaders (47%) feel their organizations are prepared to accommodate older workers today. Yet, two in five business leaders (42%) say they are prepared when it comes to knowledge transfer (from one generation of workers to the next).
The surveys were released at an ODP meeting in which five workgroups were organized to tackle the identified issues. As described in the ODP Work Group Initiatives, Workgroup No. 4 is the Workforce Readiness Work Group. This group is charged with "putting plans and policies in place . . . to accomodate these new workforce realities."

Source: Older Dominion Project Press Release (March 27, 2008)

Additional Source: ODP video of ODP presentations (March 27, 2008)