Monday, March 22, 2010

Research: How Encore Careers Can Help Close Labor Shortage Gaps

A series of papers has been released by Civic Ventures, focusing on the coming labor shortage in the United States and making the case that providing job opportunities for older adults to work in the types of jobs they really want to pursue will increase the likelihood that they will work past traditional retirement age and help fill this economic gap. According to the lead report--"After the Recovery: Help Needed; The Coming Labor Shortage and How People in Encore Careers Can Help Solve It"--authored by Barry Bluestone, Mark Melnik Kitty, Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy, Northeastern University, by 2018, there could be at least 5 million potential job vacancies in the United States, so that the nation will absolutely need older workers to step up and take them.
The research identifies 15 jobs that will provide the largest number of potential new encore career opportunities in the coming decade. The list is dominated by seven job categories in health care (registered nurses; home health aides; personal and home care aides; nursing aides, orderlies and attendants; medical assistants; licensed practical and vocational nurses; and medical and health service managers); three in education (teachers, teacher assistants and child care workers); others in nonprofits and government (business operations specialists; general and operations managers; and receptionists and information clerks); plus clergy and social and human service assistants.
The companion reports examine how creative approaches to staffing can help meet pressing problems in education, health care and the green economy, now and in the future: "How Boomers Can Help the Nation Go Green: Emerging Encore Career Opportunities in the Green Economy," produced by Council for Adult and Experiential Learning; "In How Boomers Can Help Improve Health Care: Emerging Encore Career Opportunities in Health Care," produced by Partners in Care Foundation; and "How Boomers Can Contribute to Student Success: Emerging Encore Career Opportunities in K-12 Education", produced by National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future.
“This research makes it clear that interest in encore careers can help solve long-standing social problems and an anticipated labor gap,” said Dennis White, president and CEO of MetLife Foundation [which sponsored the research]. “It’s time to think creatively about how to encourage and make use of this growing source of human talent.”
Source: Civic Ventures News Release (March 22, 2010)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

United Kingdom: Survey Looks at Awareness of Rights and Work Problems of Workers Over 60

The United Kingdom's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has published the results of a survey focusing on the views of those aged over 60 with respect to awareness of their rights, the problems experienced in the workplace and how such problems are resolved. Among the findings of "The Fair Treatment at Work Age Report" are that most workers are aware of their rights, that fewer experience problems at work, and--for most of those--problems have been resolved. Specifically:
  • 82% feel well or very well informed about their rights generally compared with 78% of the main survey population;
  • 72% feel they know enough about their employment rights with those aged 65-69 significantly more likely to report they know enough compared with 60-64 year olds;
  • rights related to age are particularly important to older workers but the level of detail known about these rights does not differ markedly from other employment rights;
  • one in five aged over 60 experienced any problem at work compared with one in three in the main survey population;
  • 8% had experienced unfair treatment at work--although age was stated as the one of the main reasons for unfair treatment by 2%, this is less than experienced by those aged 16-24 (reported by 4%);
  • 4% had experienced discrimination at work;
  • 81% of those whose problem at work was now over or most likely over had stayed with the same employer.
Source: The Age and Employment Network "BIS Report Provides Insight into Experience of Workers Aged 60+" (March 19, 2010)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Researchers Link Work Uncertainty and Deteriorating Health in Older Workers

Downsizing and demotions at the workplace can be a health hazard for people over age 50, according to research reported in The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological and Social Sciences (Volume 65B, Number 1). According to "Job Insecurity and Change Over Time in Health Among Older Men and Women" by Ariel Kalil, Kathleen M. Ziol-Guest, Louise C. Hawkley, and John T. Cacioppo, job insecurity increased the chance of harmful effects for a sample of older workers with men reacting over time with greater physical symptoms, while changes in psychological health were more prominent in women.
“Older adults in the United States are living longer and working harder,” said lead author Ariel Kalil, PhD, a professor at the University of Chicago. “Increased exposure to the labor market brings increased exposure to employment challenges.”
Specifically, the researchers looked at people born between 1935 and 1952 and found that men who experience job insecurity have higher blood pressure and higher levels of urinary catecholamines compared with men who do not experience job insecurity and women who do. Women who experience job insecurity showed higher depressive symptoms and reported more hostility, loneliness, and personal stress compared with women who do not experience job insecurity and men who do.

Source: The Gerontological Society of America Press Release (March 18, 2010)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Survey: EBRI Retirement Confidence Survey Shows More Americans To Delay Retirement

According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), Americans' confidence in their ability to retire appears to be stabilizing as the volatility of the recession has abated, but their self-described preparations for retirement continue to erode. Published as EBRI Issue Brief No. 340, "The 2010 Retirement Confidence Survey: Confidence Stabilizing, But Preparations Continue to Erode", EBRI's 20th annual survey, shows that, among other things, a growing number of American workers are planning to delay retirement and fewer have saved for retirement.

With respect to when they retire, 24% of those surveyed report they have postponed their planned retirement age in the past year. Reasons given include the poor economy (29%), a change in their employment situation (22%), inadequate finances (16%), and the need to make up for losses in the stock market (12%). Looked at over a longer time, the percentage of workers who expect to retire after age 65 has continued to increase--from 11% in 1991 to 14% in 1995, 19% in 2000, 24% in 2005, and 33% in 2010.

With respect to retirement savings, the survey finds that 69% report that they and/or their spouse have saved for retirement (down from 75% in 2009), 60% say that they and/or their spouse are currently saving for retirement (down from 65% in 2009). Furthermore, it finds that an increased percentage of workers report they have virtually no savings and investments, with 27% saying they have less than $1,000 in savings, and 54% percent that the total value of their household's savings and investments, excluding the value of their primary home and any defined benefit plans, is less than $25,000.

Source: Employee Benefits Research Institute Press Release (March 9, 2010)