Wednesday, December 12, 2012

United Kingdom: 55 Plus Struggling To Find Work through Government Program

According to AgeUK, an analysis of the United Kingdom’s Work Programme finds that participants aged 55 and over are finding it harder than any other age group to move back into work, with the problem particularly acute for those 60 and over.
The figures show that of the 9,500 people aged over 60 referred by Job Centre Plus to the Work Programme in the first 14 months of the scheme, only 140 people (1.48%) managed to find a job through the scheme.

For people aged 55-59 the rate was 2.79 %. These figures compare to a success rate for 18-24 year olds of 3.78% and (3.75%) for those aged 25-34. The overall rate is 3.56%.
Commenting on these figures, Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General of Age UK said that they are a "stark reminder of the huge challenges facing unemployed older people. Many are being locked out of the job market for no reason other than their age." One step that AgeUK is recommending is for the government to refer older people to the program sooner than the current 12 months after being out of work. In addition, AgeUK is urging that the contractors running program receive incentives to encourage them to find jobs for older people.

Source: AgeUK "Over 55s let down by Government’s Work Programme" (December 12, 2012)

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Insurance Industry Extends Research Finding Few Age Differences among Workers Compensation Claims

The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), which published a report in 2011 finding that, on average, costs for workers aged 35 and older tend to be quite similar, has published a new report that extends the 2011 analysis and finds additional similarities between the 35-and-older-age cohorts. Specifically, "NCCI Workers Compensation and the Aging Workforce: Is 35 the New “Older” Worker?" compares the share of claims by diagnosis and age cohort resulting from permanent partial, temporary total, and medical-only injuries, goes on to identify the factors that account for the observed increases in severities over time for various age cohorts, and concludes by examining safety and loss control programs related to the aging workforce.

Among other things, the report finds that, for a range of specific diagnoses, the shares by type of workplace injury (i.e., temporary total, permanent partial, and medical only) are remarkably comparable across age cohorts. For example, the shares of claims due to "sprain of neck" that were temporary total injuries are virtually identical for both younger and older workers.

In addition, the report finds that injuries due to high severity diagnoses have historically been more common for older workers, but those high severity diagnoses are now becoming common in younger-age cohorts as well.

Source: National Council on Compensation Insurance Press Release (October 31, 2012)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Japan: Small Employers Lead Way in Allowing Workers Past 65 To Keep Working

Japan's Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has released information showing that the proportion of companies where every employee can work until age 65 or beyond if they so wish rose to a record 48.8% in 2012, up 0.9% from 2011. However, this growth continues to be led by smaller employers. Only 24.3% of companies with 301 employees or more are allowing workers aged 65 or above to continue working, only a 0.5% from 2011.

Looking at the workers themselves, the Ministry's survey shows that 73.6% of 430,036 workers who reached retirement age in the past year were rehired, while only 1.6% of those hoping to be re-employed were not; 24.8% opted to retire.

In the Japan Times article on the report, it is noted:
Large firms will have to promptly take all necessary steps since revised legislation enacted earlier this year obliges them to let their employees continue working up to 65 years of age or older. The law was revised in view of planned changes to the public pension system, which will see the state pension eligibility age gradually raised from 60 to 65, beginning next April.
Sources: Japan Times "Record 49% of Japanese companies are letting seniors work beyond 65" (October 20, 2012); Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry Press Release (Japanese) (October 18, 2012);

Thursday, October 18, 2012

OECD Issues Reports on Country Initiatives To Stimulate Employment of Older Workers Since 2005

In a series of country notes, the OECD has evaluated the impact of recent policy reforms and measures to boost job opportunities for older workers in 21 countries which participated in the OECD 2003-05 review of ageing and employment policies. According to the OECD:
The data show a steady increase over the past decade of the employment rate of people aged over 50 in the OECD area, from 55.6% of 50-64 year-olds in 2001 to 61.2% at the end of 2011. At the same time, the effective age at which people retire has increased slightly: for men, from 63.1 in 2001 to 63.9 in 2011 and for women, 61.1 in 2001 to 62.8 in 2011. The data also reveal a striking difference in 2011 between countries in the share of people aged over 60 still working: from 63.4% in Sweden to 14.2% in Hungary (see data for countries below).
In 2006, OECD issued its report "Live Longer, Work Longer" in which it recommended steps to:
  • Strengthen financial incentives to carry on working and reducing incentives to retire early;
  • Tackle employment barriers on the side of employers, such as increasing awareness of anti-age discrimination laws; and
  • Improve the employability of older workers, such as boosting the incentives for job centres to place older unemployed job seekers in work.
More detailed analysis will become available in a chapter of the 2013 Employment Outlook in June 2013. In addition to the 21 country reports linked below, OECD issued a scorecard on older workers  in 34 OECD countries.

Source: OECD Ageing and Employment Policies (October 17, 2012)

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Canada: Report on Employment Practices and Employability of Mature Workers in Montreal

Community Economic Development and Employability Corporation (CEDEC) has followed up its report on the perceived challenges of mature workers throughout the greater Montreal area with a survey of employers, recruitment agencies and employment service providers to understand their perspectives on the opportunities or challenges associated with hiring a mature worker. Among other things, CEDEC's "Employment Practices and Employability of the Hidden Talent Pool: The Mature Workers Report" suggests that mature workers maintain a positive reputation in the workforce, but also reports that stakeholders mentioned several critical factors affecting English-speaking mature workers’ capacity to find employment.

For example, CEDEC reports that "employers perceive older workers as generally stable, productive, committed, responsible, and highly motivated with strong work ethics." However, it also reports that workers "have difficulty finding employment; they experience various levels of prejudice (ageism) when looking for work and are keenly aware that they are being discriminated against as a result of their age." The factors that CEDEC finds employers citing as barriers to employability include a lack of French language skills, unrealistic salary expectations, lack of technological (mostly computer) skills, a resistance to change and unwillingness to work long hours or overtime.

CEDEC recommends that:
  • the government should also be sensitized to the need to hire mature candidates for federal and provincial jobs.
  • companies should have concrete strategies for retaining mature employees in their workforce.
  • companies should understand and address the motivations and needs of mature employees while seeing the benefits of keeping mature workers on board.
Source: Community Economic Development and Employability Corporation News Release (October 5, 2012)

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Study: Recommendations to Help Pittsburgh Deal with Critical Shortage of Younger Workers

The Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board (TRWIB) has released a report finding that Pittsburgh's workforce is aging faster than the national average and that it is facing a critical shortage of younger workers ready to move into jobs that will become available as a result of retirements in the workforce in the next 10 years. According to "Does Aging Matter? Workforce aging and its implication for collaborative talent management in the Pittsburgh region," a “disturbing scarcity of skills” for local jobs, especially in the areas of advanced manufacturing, education, healthcare, utilities and the trades, will leave the region without an adequate supply of younger workers with the skills to move into the jobs, and the expertise of older workers will be lost unless mentoring opportunities and programs are established.

While TRWIB proposes accelerating support of regional career, vocational training and technical centers to promote these careers, it also recognizes that reengaging older workers may help.
The size of the graying workforce presents a challenge to regional prosperity--especially if not utilized. Even if the business community can improve in managing an aging workforce, they cannot prevent layoffs or voluntary resignations of mature workers. As the cohort of older workers expands, we expect to see more displaced or transitioning talent in this age group.
Accordingly, on this front, TRWIB recommends:
  • helping older unemployed workers navigate the labor market;
  • developing effective job-seeking skills;
  • use career coaching to help older workers to capitalize on their expertise and interests and to facilitate their transition into meaningful encore careers; and
  • encourage self-employment and entrepreneurial opportunities by providing access to resources, training, and technical assistance for new
On the employer side, the report suggests:
  • companies may need to reconsider recruitment strategies, find advertising channels and an image that appeal to
    mature workers;
  • companies should learn to be more creative in generating
    opportunities for older workers who may be less productive due to a decrease of physical strength but have a substantial wealth of knowledge and skills developed within the company;
  • flexible work arrangements, phased retirement, and other innovative models.
Source: Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board News Release (October 3, 2012)

Friday, October 05, 2012

Australia: Discussion Paper Released on Legal Barriers to Employing Older Workers

The Australian Law Reform Commission has released a discussion paper for the Commission's inquiry into legal barriers to older persons participating in the workforce and other productive work. In "Grey Areas: Age Barriers to Work in Commonwealth Laws," the Commission highlights its thinking to date and puts forward proposals for law reform in the areas of recruitment and employment, work health and safety, insurance, social security, and superannuation.

For example, on the issue of recruitment, the paper notes that "Mature age job seekers face multiple and intersecting difficulties in entering or re-entering the workforce and often utilise either the national employment services system or the services of private recruitment agencies." One proposal being put forward is that "The Fair Work Ombudsman should undertake a national recruitment industry campaign to educate and assess the compliance of recruitment agencies with workplace laws, specifically with respect to practices affecting mature age job seekers and workers."

Individuals and organizations are asked to make submissions in response to the 36 proposals and 15 questions in the discussion paper. Submissions may be made until November 23, 2012 at

Source: Australian Law Reform Commission Media Release (October 2, 2012)

Monday, October 01, 2012

UN Population Fund Issues Report on Global Aging

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has released a report showing that the number of older persons is increasing faster than any other age group, with the population of over-60-year-olds expected to reach one billion within the decade. Thus, among other things, "Ageing in the Twenty-first Century: A Celebration and a Challenge" calls for urgent action by governments to address the needs of the "greying generation."
If not addressed promptly, the consequences of these issues are likely to take unprepared countries by surprise. In many developing countries with large populations of young people, for example, the challenge is that governments have not put policies and practices in place to support their current older populations or made enough preparations for 2050.
The report does acknowledge that important progress has been made by many countries in adopting new policies, strategies, plans and laws on aging. With respect to employment, the report finds that 47% of older men and nearly 24% of older women participate in the labor force. Yet, despite the contributions that a socially and economically active, secure and healthy ageing population can give to society, the report also notes that many older persons all over the world face continued discrimination, abuse and violence. The report calls for governments, civil society and the general public to work together to end these destructive practices and to invest in older people.

Source: United Nations Population Fund Press Release (October 1, 2012)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Survey: Hiring Managers Prefer Mature Workers

According to a survey, conducted by Braun Research, Inc on behalf of Adecco Staffing US, hiring managers are three times more likely to hire a mature worker (60%) than a Millennial (20%). In addition, 91% of the hiring managers across a range of industries say they view mature workers as reliable and 88% considering them professional.

In the "Adecco Staffing Mature Worker Survey," found that there were hiring barriers for both age groups. While 39% of hiring managers didn’t see any challenges in hiring mature workers, compared to 27% for Millennials, 39% said the greatest challenge to hiring mature workers is their difficulty in learning/adapting to new technology, while--with respect to Millennials--46% of hiring managers viewed their unknown long-term commitment to a company as the biggest possible liability.

The survey also noted problems for both groups in the interview process:
Specifically, 51 percent of hiring managers cited mature workers’ biggest interview mistake as “high salary/compensation demands,” followed by 48 percent that cited “overconfidence in their abilities and experience.” For Millennials, the biggest mistakes were “wearing inappropriate interview attire” (75 percent) and “posting potentially compromising content on social media channels” (70 percent).
Source: Press Release (September 26, 2012)

Report: Long-Term Implications of Aging Population on United States

In a congressionally-mandated report on the aging of the U.S. population and its economic consequences for the country, particularly for federal programs that support the elderly, the National Research Council finds that Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are on unsustainable paths, and the failure to remedy the situation raises a number of economic risks. However, "Aging and the Macroeconomy: Long-Term Implications of an Older Population" also looked at issues about working and retirement and reports that:
  • there is substantial potential for increased labor force participation at older ages, which would boost national output, slow the draw-down on retirement savings, and allow workers to save longer; and
  • longer working lives would have little effect on employment opportunities for younger workers, productivity, or innovation.
According to Ronald Lee, professor of demography and economics at the University of California, Berkeley, and co-chair of the committee that authored the report, "[t]he nation needs to rethink its outlook and policies on working and retirement.... Although 65 has conventionally been considered a normal retirement age, it is an increasingly obsolete threshold for defining old age and for setting benefits for the elderly."

In addition, the report suggests that workers can better prepare for retirement by planning ahead and adapting their saving and spending habits.

A summary of the report is also available.

Source: National Research Council News Release (September 25, 2012)

Monday, September 17, 2012

United Kingdom: Rise in Older Workers and in Employer Fears of Cost of Health Issues

According to a survey from Aviva, companies in the United Kingdom are already starting to see a change in their workforce demographics resulting from elimination of the default retirement age, prompting fears that aging workforce health issues will affect their company. "Aviva’s Health of the Workplace" reports that 29% of employers are already seeing a rise in the average age of employees, 37% of employers expect to see their workforce get older in the future, and 38% believe that ageing workforce health issues will impact their company. Aviva does note, however that 50% of employers believe there are positive benefits for individuals working past the traditional retirement age.
A quarter (24%) of employers are concerned that an increase in the numbers of older employees will see sickness absence rates rise. A similar proportion of employers (26%) were concerned that older employees would be absent with more serious conditions than their younger colleagues. Not surprisingly, nearly three-quarters (70%) of employers believe that health issues in the workplace will increase because older employees suffer from different medical complications to younger employees.
Employers also note that they will need to respond to these concerns, 29% saying they would need to offer different health advice, 18% that they would need to offer different health benefits, and 23% that they would need training to help spot signs of serious illness, such as dementia. In addition, 36% realized they may need to introduce flexible working hours for older employees.

Source: Aviva News Release (September 27, 2012)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ukraine: Age Discrimination in Hiiring, Government Incentives for Hiring Older Workers Coming

According to published reports, a survey conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Social Studies has found that more than a quarter of Ukrainians say that they have suffered age-based discrimination while trying to get a job. In addition, the Kharkiv Institute of Social Studies, analyzing 7,000 employment ads, found that 15% of all printed ads and 58 percent of online ads contain age requirements for job seekers.

Daryna Shevchenko's article in the Kyiv Post reports that "experts say that employers fear hiring older people because they are viewed as less creative, less diligent, less efficient and more demanding as far as benefits go."
ay that employers fear hiring older people because they are viewed as less creative, less diligent, less efficient and more demanding as far as benefits go.
A law going into effect in 2013 may not change the lax discrimination laws, but will provide an incentive to hire older workers:
The new law that will come into effect in 2013 bans employers from demanding any private information about job seekers. It also guarantees that the government will subsidize anyone aged over 45 with 15 or more years of working experience who need to learn a new skill to become more employable.

Iryna Akimova, deputy head of the president’s administration, said the government will issue a voucher worth Hr 11,000 for a person to receive new training. She also said that the government will exempt companies from paying the single social tax for a year if they hire older employees, those who are raising disabled children and young people entering the job market.
Source: Kyiv Post "Employers shun older applicants" (September 13, 2012)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

CareerBuilder Survey Finds Generational Differences in Workplace

CareerBuilder has reached the results of a national poll identifying generational differences in work styles, communication and changing jobs. Among other things, the survey reports that 34% of U.S. workers say their boss is younger than they are, and 15% say they work for someone who is at least ten years younger. "While most workers said it isn’t difficult to work for a younger boss, differences in work styles, communication and expectations illustrate the changing nature of office life."

Specifically, CareerBuilder compares older workers (those 55 and over) and younger workers (those 25 to 34) and finds, among other things:
  • Communications: the older are more likely to prefer face-to-face contact (60% compared to 55%), while the younger are more likely to prefer text and e-mail (35% compared to 28%).
  • Career paths: Younger workers tend to view a career path with a “seize any opportunity” mindset, while older workers are more likely to place value in loyalty and putting in the years before advancement.
  • Working hours: Younger workers are more likely to log shorter hours--eight hours or less--than workers 55 and older (64% versus 58%) and are more open to flexible schedules (29% versus 20%).
Source: CareerBuilder Press Release (September 13, 2012)

Pew Researchers Find Delayed Retirement of Older Workers Does Not Harm Younger Workers

The Pew Charitable Trusts have published an issue brief exploding the he "lump-of-labor" theory, which holds to the notion that younger and older workers are engaged in a zero-sum game for a fixed number of jobs. Instead, according to "When Baby Boomers Delay Retirement,
Do Younger Workers Suffer?,"
there is no evidence that employment by Baby Boomers negatively impacted the labor force activity of younger workers.

Among other things, the brief reports that:
  • an increase in older workers’ employment has been associated with an increase in younger workers’ employment rate and hours worked;
  • this relationship between older and younger workers’ labor force behavior also holds true within states;
  • this relationship does not vary by education level or by gender; and
  • older workers’ employment has no negative impact on the hourly wages or annual incomes of youth.
Source: Pew Charitable Trusts Research Analysis (September 13, 2012)

Survey Reports Generations in Workplace Respect Each Other

In advance of its September 28, 2012 symposium on “America’s Aging Workforce: A Fairfax County EDA Symposium,” the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority has release the results of a survey it commissioned, finding that, despite a demographic shift that is making the nation’s workforce older, working Americans from different generations--Baby Boomers and their Gen X and Millennial counterparts--value each other in the workplace to a surprisingly high degree. Specifically, "[m]ore than nine out of 10 of those surveyed agreed with the statement: 'the best workforce is one that has a good contingent of younger and older workers,' with 92 percent of employees aged 18-34 and 95 percent of employees aged 55+ concurring."

Of employees aged 18-34, 69% said that both older workers and younger workers were equally valuable in their own right, a sentiment echoed by 78% of employees aged 55+ and 77% or those aged 35-54. In addition, both workers and their managers agreed that no amount of enthusiasm can replace experience in the workplace.

While most of those surveyed believe that their company’s leadership is prepared for an aging workforce, with more managers (70%) than rank-and-file workers (59%) thinking that is the case, there was evidence that stereotypes persist: "Most managers and workers agree that, in general, older workers are more resistant to change in the workplace. Younger employees are much more likely (80 percent) to think so than their middle-aged (71 percent) and older (62 percent) colleagues."

Source: Fairfax County Economic Development Authority News Release (September 13, 2012)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

United Kingdom: AgeUK Calls for Mandating Flexible Workplaces

AgeUk has issued a report calling for every worker to be able to do their job flexibly--including working from home, doing flexitime or different working hours, or simply being able to swap shifts--unless a business can justify otherwise. According to "", "an important way to unleash the full potential of Britain’s older workers, many of whom are unable to work conventional hours because of caring responsibilities and the need to balance other personal issues with work, is to change the UK’s traditional and more rigid approach to work."

Among the changes that AgeUK is calling for are for all new and prospective employees to automatically have the right to request flexible working, instead of having to wait until 26 weeks in the job before making a request. Currently, "far too many people aged 50 and over are locked out of the job market because they are unable to work conventional hours, often because they have to care for a relative or have health issues."

Among other findings published in the report:
  • 38% of those in employment aged 50 plus worked flexibly in 2010, up from 30% in 2005, but the figures hide the lack of flexible working in various industries.
  • Older workers in the public sector are most likely to work flexibly.
  • People in lower supervisory and routine jobs are less likely to be granted flexible working than those in managerial or professional roles.
  • Carers are less likely to be able to access flexible working options than other groups, for example those coming back from maternity leave.
  • 25% of carers under the age of 70 report that caring responsibilities affect their work. Of these, 39% left employment altogether.
Source: AgeUK Press Release (September 11, 2012)

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Book: "Mid and Late Career Issues: An Integrative Perspective"

The University of Florida has announced the publication of Mid and Late Career Issues: An Integrative Perspective," which finds that older workers learn more quickly and have more drive than some employers might believe. Based on a synthesis of the limited literature on the topic as well as numerous in-depth interviews with older workers and recent retirees, the authors challenge the stereotypes associated with older workers, such as they are more difficult to train and they lack energy compared with younger colleagues.

The book is co-authored by Mo Wang, an associate professor of management and co-director of the Human Resource Research Center at the Warrington College of Business Administration, Deborah A. Olson, an associate professor of management and leadership at the University of La Verne (Calif.), and Kenneth Shultz, a professor of psychology at California State University, San Bernadino.

According to the book, older workers are often better at certain types of work, such as customer service, because they are better equipped to deal with emotional aspects of the job. Experiences such as raising children and caring for elderly parents provide older workers with the skills to deal with emotional obstacles. Such life experience also benefits workers when they change jobs or face layoffs.
“We really found no basis to argue that older workers are harder to train than younger workers,” Wang said. “This stereotype often contributes to employers’ unwillingness for hiring older workers.”

Wang said that when workers reach their early 40s, their career priorities could change. No longer preoccupied with advancement, older workers reassess their position and value.

“When you get to be 40 or 45, your future in your organization becomes clear,” Wang said. “You’re thinking less about climbing the career ladder. You begin to think of other ways to have a legacy.”

Source: University of Florida News Release (September 7, 2012)

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Australia: IAG Chief Addresses Diversity, Harnessing Energy of Older Workers

Mike Wilkins, Managing Director and CEO, Insurance Australia Group (IAG), addressing the Australian Human Rights Commission, believes that while there are things government can do to help make employment a more viable option for older workers, business has the responsibility to help change community attitudes around older workers and to walk the talk.

In describing the diversity initiatives undertaken by IAG, Wilkins pointed out that "diversity is really about diversity of thought" even though "diversity of gender, ethnicity and age are positive lead indicators of a healthy organisation." To this end, IAG ran unconscious bias sessions with its leaders to help them recognize their thought process when they make employment decisions, so that, for example, one doesn't automatically assume that an older person may not have the technical nous required in a modern workplace.

In addition to regularly promoting and celebrating the achievements and long service milestones of its employees, IAG has an established range of policies, programs, and practices to respond to the demographic challenge, largely around the need for flexibility that older workers frequently want.

With respect to government initiatives, Wilkins endorsed efforts to reform the superannuation arrangements so as not to discourage people from remaining in or re-entering the workforce, suggested possible subsidies for older workers who want to take on mentoring roles and tax breaks to make it more appealing for older workers to re-enter the workforce, and applauded the Queensland and Western Australian governments for removing the age limit on their workers compensation schemes and recommended that all states and territories do the same.

Source: Insurance Australia Group Media Release (September 3, 2012)

Saturday, September 01, 2012

United Kingdom: Illness Forces Many Older Workers To Stop Working Before Retirement Age

The United Kingdom's Trades Union Congress (TUC) has released an analysis of official labor market data showing that disability and poor health are preventing nearly half a million people approaching retirement from working, a figure that the TUC says will only increase as the state pension age starts to rise. Specifically, the TUC research finds that the employment rates for those approaching the current SPA are low, with just 54% of men aged 60-64 and 62% of women aged 56-60 in work.

As nearly two in five of those approaching retirement age are economically inactive, with long-term sickness and disability cited as the main reason for then not working, the TUC argues that the UK government is wrong to raise the state pension age without first addressing the health inequalities that are forcing many people out of work well before they're able to draw their pension. Instead, the government should focus on tackling age discrimination, extending access to flexible working and supporting those who are actively seeking work to re-enter the jobs market. TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:
While more people are working past their state pension age, often as the only way to get a decent retirement income, a far greater number of older people are unable to work due to ill-health or because they are trapped in long-term unemployment.

Accelerating the rise in the state pension age will simply push more people into poverty. We will end up with a new limbo zone for people in their mid-60s who are too young for a pension, but too old to have any realistic chance of a job. With a benefits system that gets meaner and tougher each year, even 66 year olds who have worked for decades before stopping work will be treated as work-shy scroungers.

By raising the state pension age and ignoring persistent health inequalities, the government risks overseeing a dramatic rise in pensioner poverty.
Source: Trades Union Congress News Release (August 30, 2012)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Research: Eliminating Social Security Taxes on Older Workers Would Encourage Longer Working Lives, Reduce Government Expenses

According to research published by the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research, eliminating social security payroll taxes starting when workers are 55-years-old would lead to their take-home pay jumping by 10.6%, and they would work 1.5 years longer on average, paying more income taxes, and helping to reduce the Federal deficit. In their article "Consumption, retirement and social security: Evaluating the efficiency of reform that encourages longer careers," in the Journal of Public Economics, University of Michigan economists John Laitner and Dan Silverman explore how tax cuts targeted at older workers would affect the likelihood of working longer and the size of the federal deficit.

According to their abstract, "The estimated magnitude of the change in consumption–expenditure depends importantly on the treatment of consumption by adult children of the household. Simulations indicate that the reform could increase retirement ages one year or more, equivalent variations could average more than $4000 per household, and income tax revenues per household could increase by more than $14,000."

However, in order for the Social Security system to break even,
workers would need to pay about one percent higher payroll taxes a year until age 55. Thus, Laitner said:
Households with a strong preference for very early retirement would pay the slightly higher payroll tax before age 55, but leave the labor force before gaining much from the elimination of the payroll tax after that. Late retirees would, by the same token, be big winners. And the point of the reform, after all, is to encourage work by rewarding it.
Source: Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan Research Release (August 28, 2012)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Survey: U.S. Employers Want Older Workers To Keep Working

Nearly half of 412 retirement plans sponsors surveyed by BMO Retirement Services expect U.S. companies to benefit from baby boomer employees who prolong their careers past age 65. In addition, only 4% of the firms surveyed believe employees who postpone retirement will be a negative for companies.
"Although some companies will continue to offer buyouts and retirement packages to their older staff, our survey suggests that many businesses will be pleased to retain selected boomer employees," said Todd Perala, Director of Relationship Management at BMO Retirement Services. "There appears to be a growing recognition in corporate America that employees in their sixties possess valuable institutional experience and expertise."
BMO Retirement Services also found that close to a quarter of surveyed employers estimate that the percentage of working boomers who postpone retirement could exceed 50% in the years ahead. Nearly half of respondents predict that more than 30% of boomers will fall into this category.

The plans surveyed have a minimum of $2 million in trust assets and use the BMO Retirement Services recordkeeping platform.

Source: BMO Retirement Services Press Release (August 21, 2012)

Monday, August 20, 2012

New Zealand: Exploring Employer HR Needs and the Silver Tsunami

According to an article from the University of Auckland's Retirement Policy and Research Centre, the retirement of baby boomers in Nez Zealand will leave labor and skill gaps that will need filling and will change the whole process of retirement, but employers able to harness those two challenges will fare better as the "silver tsunami" moves through New Zealand’s age groups. In "A commentary on older workers and some HR issues facing employers," Michael Littlewood examines what is known about New Zealand's older workers, looks at effective retirement ages, makes international comparisons, and explores some of the myths of the silver tsunami.

Among other things, Littlewood writes that not enough is known bout older New Zealanders, as the five yearly Census was last done in 2006. He points out that, as of that time, participation rate of those aged 65 and over had approximately trebled over the 20 years 1986-2006, and that t there were wice as many male "participants" as female in each of several age groups broken out of those over 65 in 2006.
Baby boomers will change everything as they move through their late careers, the transition to retirement and retirement itself. Their numbers alone make that inevitable. They present a human resources’ challenge to employers on at least two grounds: their retirement will leave labour and skill gaps that will need filling, and they will change the whole process of retirement.
Source: Retirement Policy and Research Centre Pension Commentary 2012-4 (August 13, 2012)

Friday, August 17, 2012

United Kingdom: Survey Finds Many Workers Plan To Never Retire; Others Unsure

A survey conducted by Baring Assest Management finds that 44% of non-retired Great Britain adults aged 55 to 64 do not know when they will be able to retire--a higher percentage than the 38% of all non-retired adults who don't know when they will be able to retire. In addition, 12% of the larger pool do not plan to retire at all.

According to Barings, "the results of this year’s survey are in stark contrast to the results from before the financial crisis in 2008. Back then, 100% of non-retired respondents were confident that they would retire, with only 1% saying that they did not know at what age they
would be able to do so."

The survey also finds that of those that plan to retire over the age of 65, 65% are men and 35% are women, suggesting that proportionally men are likely to retire later.

Marino Valensise, Chief Investment Officer at Baring Asset Management commented:
Particularly concerning is the fact that such a huge proportion of people aged 55 – 64 do not know when they will be able to retire. It is likely that these people will have suffered pension losses in recent years due to the financial crisis and therefore need to work longer to recoup funds. With a high number of younger people also failing to save, it is essential that the benefits of a pension are understood to avoid further generations of pension poverty. While financial demands extend beyond saving for retirement, starting to build a pension early in your working life is absolutely key to ensuring a comfortable retirement.
Source: Baring Assest Management Press Release (August 16, 2012)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Study: Labor Force Participation and Increased Participation by Older Workers

The Urban Institute has released a report suggesting that changing age demographics have powerful implications for the shape of the nation's work force, but that "formal models of labor force participation fail to take into account that as the relative supply of younger workers declines, employers will increasingly turn to older workers to meet their demand for labor to provide goods and services." According to "Correcting Labor Supply Projections for Older Workers Could Help Social Security and Economic Reform," by C. Eugene Steuerle and Caleb Quakenbush, increased labor force participation among older workers can add to the solvency of Social Security and the broader federal budget. Policymakers in both the public and private sectors can accommodate this trend by removing barriers that discourage hiring and retaining older workers.
Older workers are to the first half of the 21st century what women were to the last half of the 20th: the largest underused source of labor and human capital in the economy. Few policymakers are taking this extraordinary possibility into account in their reform packages. In an increasingly informationand service-based economy, older workers represent a valuable source of knowledge and experience that employers will tap, especially if Social Security and related economic reforms attempt to channel rather than obstruct these forces.
Source: Urban Institute Publication News (August 10, 2012)

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

United Kingdom: Action Needed To Improve Older Workers Employment Gap

The Resolution Foundation has issued a report suggesting that the United Kingdom may be missing a historic opportunity to boost employment among the over 50s. The UK ranks 15th out of 34 OECD countries, for older workers, lagging the five top countries for by over fifteen percentage points, and closing this gap would mean around 1.5 million more people in work. According to "Unfinished Business: Barriers and opportunities for older workers," authored by Giselle Cory, planned increases in the state pension age are a step in the right direction, but without parallel reforms to tackle the other barriers to older employment, the change will hinder rather than help some older women who are unable to find or keep employment.

In particular, the report identifies six key barriers which need to be overcome to support greater employment amongst the over 50s:
  1. lack of adequate financial incentives to remain in, or return to, work;
  2. significant caring responsibilities;
  3. lack of employment support to move back into work, including training;
  4. limited access to flexible working opportunities
  5. continued prevalent age discrimination; and
  6. poor health.
The UK should attack these because there is a strong desire for longer working lives and a strong need, particularly for those on low to middle incomes. Among other things, most pension saving takes place after age 50 and only one in four is currently saving enough to retire at state pension age; two out of three older workers say they want to continue working up to or past pensionable age; and older women face particular barriers to work, with only 60% of older women employed versus 72% of older men and a large gender pay gap.

Source: Resolution Foundation Press Release (August 8, 2012)

Friday, July 27, 2012

United Kingdom: Official Endorses Mid-life Career Planning To Help Working Longer

During a parliamentary debate, John Hayes, UK Minister for Skills, endorsed proposals made by the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) for a mid-life career review. "NIACE has been exploring with the Departments of Business, Innovation and Skills; Work and Pensions and Health whether such a review might encourage people to stay longer and more productively in work, and ensure that they retire in circumstances and ways which make them healthy and independent in retirement." Hayes said:
"...I wanted to accept NIACE's proposal of a mid-life learning health check so that we could look at people at the age of 40 and 50 perhaps and use the national careers service to gauge when and where they could study to upskill or reskill. That there is a need for that has been argued in the sector for some time, and we have taken it on board...".
According to NIACE, the idea of the proposal is to encourage and support people to review the learning and skills they need to successfully manage the second half of their lives. "[T]here is a need for adults to review their career aspirations, training, health, finances and retirement plans before age-discrimination and ill health begin to limit choices."

NIACE also points to "Next steps: Life transitions and retirement in the 21st century," a report prepared by Lord Wei and written by Dr. Alison Hulme for the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, as support for this approach.

Source: National Institute of Adult Continuing Education News Archive (July 18, 2012)

Monday, July 16, 2012

Israel: Research Finds that Professional "Vitality" Peaks at Ages 50 to 59

According to the results of research announced by the University of Haifa, managers demonstrate their highest levels of professional vitality in their 50's. In an investigation of the functionality of high-tech, engineering, and infrastructure executives, Dr. Shmuel Grimland, Prof. Yehuda Baruch, and Prof. Eran Vigoda-Gadot, found that in terms of vitality--defined as " the ability to carry out tasks with passion, vigor, and competence, and to gain satisfaction from his or her work performance", advancing age plays a significant role.

Specifically, the older the manager, the higher his or her professional vitality, reaching a peak at 50-59 and 57 being the highest point in the sample group. Then, the manager’s vitality then begins to drop.
"Our study shows that providing tools for workers to improve their professional vitality will also improve their satisfaction and will help cultivate resourceful and innovative workers. This indicates that an organization should make it a priority to provide such tools. Workers’ vitality ‘fuels’ the success of the organization, and the fact that professional vitality is preserved and actually rises well into one’s 50s indicates that organizations investing in this aspect of the workplace will be able to benefit from productive workers for many years," the researchers concluded.
Source: University of Haifa Press Release (July 15, 2012)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Singapore: Government To Focus on Career Development, not Job Placement Agency, To Help Older Workers

Responding to a question at Parliament, Tan Chuan-Jin, Singapore's Minister of State for National Development and Manpower, stated that the government recognizes that older workers often have special requirements and needs, but that a Job Development, Assessment and Placement Service for older workers is not needed. Rather, the government believes in adopting a functional approach and ensuring that existing service touchpoints are sensitive to the needs and requirements of older workers too.

Thus, the government's aid is "to attract and develop career consultants to have the right experience and personal qualities to assist a wide range of job seekers. The career consultants adopt a case management approach to help each client based on their individual needs. They carry out an in-depth assessment of each client’s capabilities and circumstances, before deciding how best to match job seekers to jobs or whether they need more training to become job ready."
While the Government will provide quality training and employment facilitation services for older workers, our efforts will have limited effect if conditions at the workplace are not conducive for older workers. Hence, we have and will continue to encourage employers to adopt age management practices in their workplaces, such as redesigning work processes to suit the physical abilities and skills of an ageing workforce. This will enable employers to be attractive to older workers in this tight labour market.
Sources: Parliament Questions Oral Answer by Mr Tan Chuan-Jin (July 10, 2012); Today Online "Govt open to set up task force to create more jobs for elderly" (July 10, 2012)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

United Kingdom: Employers Failing at Supporting Older Workers at Retirement

According to a report prepared for Aviva, almost two-thirds of United Kingdom employers offer no tailored retirement support to their older workers. The "Aviva Real Retirement Report" finds that 64% of businesses don’t offer any tailored retirement support, even though 70% of employees who received support found it useful. In addition, the report finds that the number of employees deferring their state pension continues to increase.

Aviva notes that 56% of employers have spent money on providing work place benefits such as pensions, private medical insurance, and annual bonus, but that only 36% provide employees with guidance in the run-up to retirement:
This lack of guidance not only highlights a lack of commitment to employee benefits but is also likely to lead to a loss of vital skills from older employees. Almost a third (32%)* of those who qualify for the state pension are still looking to work – at least on a part-time basis – so by engaging with an employee’s retirement planning a business may be able to keep their valuable employees for longer.
Interestingly, the main focus if the 36% of employers who recognise the benefits of providing support to older employees is on enabling them to remain working for longer if they choose. "One in ten companies say they offer workers the option of part-time or flexi-time employment as they approach retirement, and 9% look at ways to extend the careers of their employees if this is what they wish to do."

Source: Aviva News Release (July 11, 2012)

Thursday, July 05, 2012

China: Official Proposes Pushing Retirement Age to 65 by 2045

He Ping, director of the Social Security Research Institute under the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MOHRSS), has proposed that China should gradually push back the retirement age for both men and women to 65 by 2045. Announcing his proposal at a workshop on coping with the aging population, he said that the changes should begin in 2016 by adding one year every two years over a period of ten years.

In China, the retirement age is currently 60 for men, 55 for female civil servants and 50 for other female workers. Li Jun, an expert with the Institute of Quantitative & Technical Economics under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), also recommended a timely increase in the retirement age. He expressed that this aim is not to promote growth but to reduce the speed of the shrinking of the overall labor force size, to weaken the anticipated increase in costs to the labor force. But he pointed out that the age of retirement is extremely important, and must be treated cautiously in policy making.
Cai Fang, director of the CASS Institute of Population and Labor Economics, argued that China can gradually push back its retirement age in response to the dramatic decline in working age population. However, Cai did indicate that the circumstances for China to extend its retirement age are yet to mature since the country's older generation usually lacks the sufficient educational background to meet the new requirements of their job positions. Therefore, it would be better for the government to adopt a flexible policy in this regard and, at the same time, provide more training opportunities for the elderly.
Sources: Morning Whistle "China should push retirement age to 65 as aging problems grow, official says" (July 2, 2012); "Proposal to push retirement age to 65" (July 2, 2012); ChinaSmack "Experts Propose Increasing China’s Reitrement Age to 65" (July 2, 2012)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Massachusetts: Aging Workforce and Skills Gaps in Metros South/West Region

The first in a series of skills gap reports prepared as a joint project by Commonwealth Corporation and the New England Public Policy Center of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston has been released. According to "Labor Market Trends in the Metro South/West Region," the Metro South/West Region--which includes major workforce centers like Marlborough, Framingham, Natick, Franklin and Hopkinton--faces the demographic challenges of an aging population and potential shortfalls in workers with the required educational levels.

The area is one of the oldest regions in the state; in 2008-10, nearly 50% of the region’s civilian labor force was 45 years of age or older, suggesting that the region’s businesses are facing a potential overall shortage of younger workers to replace baby boomers as they retire.
In the past decade, there has been strong growth in the share of workers who are 45-54 years old and 55-64 years old. In addition, there have been an increasing number of workers who are 65 years and older and in the labor force. At the same time, there has been a declining number of workers between the ages of 25 and 34 and between 35 and 44.
With respect to unemployment, the report notes:
A larger share of the unemployed in Metro South/West is over the age of 45, compared with Massachusetts and the nation. This is a consequence of the region’s older population. At the beginning of the decade, when the unemployment rate was at 2.1 percent, the unemployed population was largely concentrated among 25-54-year-olds. As the region’s population increased in age over the decade and the Great Recession took hold, the share of the unemployed age 45 or older grew to over 50 percent.
Source: New England Public Policy Center of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Executive Summary (June 26, 2012)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Older Americans Support Legislation To Fight Age Discrimination in Workplace

The AARP has released a survey finding that 78% of registered voters over 50 support passage of the bipartisan "Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act,: which is aimed at is overturning the U.S. Supreme Court decision (Gross v. FBL Financial Services) that made it much more difficult for older workers to prove claims of illegal bias based on age. Furthermore, according to "Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act: National Public Opinion Report," over one-third (34%) reported that they or someone they know has experienced age discrimination in the workplace.

On questions related to the proposed legislation, 90% said that competent workers should be able to stay on the job regardless of their age, and 91% agree that older Americans should be protected from age discrimination just as they are protected from other forms of discrimination. In addition, 64% think that people over age 50 face age discrimination in the workplace.

AARP has also published survey segments of the opinion of older voters in Alaska, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Tennessee.

Source: AARP Press Release (June 21, 2012)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

South Korea: Will Have World's Highest Average Age by 2045

A report prepared by the Korea Center for International Finance (KCIF), based on findings by the Royal Bank of Scotland, shows that South Korea's population is expected to be the oldest in the world in 2045. In that year, the average age of the country's population will hit 50. In addition, the report shows that the total number of workers in the country is expected to fall by 1.2% every year until 2025, with the figures rising to 2% up until 2050.
In addition, the old age dependency ratio is predicted to steadily rise in the coming years until people over 65, who are no longer economically active, will outnumber workers in 2039. It said in 2050, every worker in the country will have to support 1.65 people who no longer earn a living.
According to an interview with Youngsun Koh, Chief Economist Korea Development Institute, it will be critical for the government to lay out policies that involve more senior citizens and women in the workforce to prevent Korea's aging population from hindering the country's growth.

Sources: Yonhap News Agency"S. Korea's average age to be highest in the world in 2045: report" (June 19, 2012); Airang "Report: Korean Workforce to Be World's Oldest by 2045" (June 19, 2012)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

United Kingdom: Report Urges Removing Barriers for 50 Plus Employment

The Policy Exchange has issued a report calling on the United Kingdom to confront the barriers to employment faced by those 50 and older and stating that a failure to provide support based on targeting the barriers to work of the most needy means that many will miss out on the support that they require. According to "Too Much to Lose: Understanding and supporting Britain’s older workers," written by Matthew Tinsley, "without reforms to address these issues, growth in the UK economy will be lower than it might otherwise be and, on average, the population of over-50s could see a fall in living standards."

While the report recognizes that significant progress has been made over the last two decades, with the older workforce becoming more educated, working in more skilled roles and less likely to be affected by health problems, those over-50s currently unemployed are much less likely than any other age group to find work in the next year. Research behind the report finds "that there is a significant scarring effect of unemployment on future wages for older workers and that this is larger than for other age group."

The report says that further regulation is unlikely to help, but that better back-to-work support is needed. Specifically, it recommends:
  1. As a part of the current consultation, the government should look into legislating for a system of protected conversations between employers and employees. This must allow conversations around both retirement and the opportunities for flexible working and provide a platform for employers to get an understanding of the plans of their older workers regarding when they plan to retire and discuss possible flexible working arrangements.
  2. Government pilots allowing more advisor flexibility for older workers across all Jobcentres should be extended where there has been success so far.
  3. The government should pilot a scheme where more skilled older workers can take a budget for the support that they receive and use it to find support in areas that suit their specific needs.
  4. For the potentially large number of older jobseekers whose experience is in sectors that currently lack good prospects there should be the condition to search and/or gain experience in other sectors as part of their mandatory job search activities.
  5. Through Jobcentre Plus there should be a greater push to allow volunteering and work experience on a voluntary basis to older jobseekers who JCP advisors believe can benefit the most from it.
  6. For the minority of older jobseekers that advisors believe are not making a serious attempt to look in different sectors or roles, a mandatory element should be introduced into the scheme. Such claimants would be given the option of undertaking either a Mandatory Work Activity
    , or engaging in the work experience scheme.
Source: Conservative Home "Matthew Tinsley: Helping older workers" (June 19, 2012)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

OECD Pension Outlook: Work Longer Before Retiring and Smaller Public Pensions.

The OECD says that governments will need to raise retirement ages gradually to address increasing life expectancy in order to ensure that their national pension systems are both affordable and adequate. Even so, the OECD report "Pensions Outlook 2012" finds that reforms over the past decade have cut future public pension payouts, typically by 20 to 25%.

According to the OECD, over the next 50 years, life expectancy at birth is expected to increase by more than 7 years in developed economies. The long-term retirement age in half of OECD countries will be 65, and in 14 countries it will be between 67 and 69. The report states that increases in retirement ages are underway or planned in 28 out of the 34 OECD countries, but these increases will only keep pace with improved life expectancy in six countries for men and in 10 countries for women. Thus, OECD calls on governments to consider formally linking retirement ages to life expectancy, as in Denmark and Italy, and make greater efforts to promote private pensions.

Private pensions are not a panacea either, as OECD notes that in countries where public pensions are relatively low and private pensions voluntary, such as Germany, Ireland, Korea, Japan and the United States, large segments of the population can expect major falls in income upon retirement.

The report also includes the first comprehensive evaluation of national defined contribution systems. These are:
now a central feature of many countries’ pension systems. Among other recommendations, the report argues that it is critical to set the minimum or default contribution rate in Defined Contribution systems at an appropriate level.

Contributions to these systems need to be high enough so that together with public pensions they generate sufficient income at retirement. While Australia is moving in the right direction by increasing its contribution rate from 9% to 12%, it remains too low in countries such as Mexico and New Zealand (6.5% and 3%, respectively).
Source: OECD News Release (June 11, 2012). See also, OECD, Media Brief.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Australia: Economic Reform Report Calls for Raising Participation Rates of Older Workers

The Grattan Institute, in issuing reform recommendations for providing Australia economic benefits over the next decade, noted that no other reform opportunity compared to tax reform and raising participation rates for women and older Australians. With respect to the latter, the report — "Game-changers: Economic reform priorities for Australia" — said that "Increasing the workforce participation rate of older people would mean that Australia’s GDP would be about $25 billion higher by 2022."

Finding that "[o]lder people generally stop working for discretionary reasons, such as opting to retire once they reach ‘retirement age’, rather than because of difficulty finding work, or barriers such as disability," the Grattan Institute calls for increasing the ages at which people become eligible for the aged pension and eligible to access their superannuation. Specifically, the report recommends raising both the pension age (the age at which people can qualify for the age pension — currently 65 for men and 64 for women, to rise to 65 for both sexes by 2014) and the preservation age (the age at which a worker can access their superannuation — currently 55) to 70.

According to the report, "[m]easures to encourage businesses to employ older workers, such as the Commonwealth Government’s recently announced Jobs Bonus and related initiatives, are likely to have a relatively limited effect on older age participation." In fact, it suggests that "it is not clear that governments can do much to alter employer perceptions. It may be that increasing the pension and preservation ages would do more than anything else to change both employer and employee expectations."
Those retiring today have benefited from an ‘unexpected’ increase in longevity, and it is reasonable that in enjoying this benefit, they share some of the costs that it imposes. The only generation that is ‘unfairly’ treated by increases in the pension age is the cohort that has already retired. Younger people will have to work to any increased retirement age as well.
Source: Grattan Institute Media Release (June 7, 2012)

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Australian Human Rights Commission Calls for Ending Barriers to Working Past the 60's

The Australian Human Rights Commission has issued a paper detailing how age bars in workers compensation, income insurance, and licencing block willing and able people from continuing in work through their 60s and beyond. In "Working Past Our 60s: Reforming Laws and Policies for the Older Worker," calls for the elimination of all these age bars. Susan Ryan, the Age Commissioner, states: "My hope, in publishing this paper, is to spread awareness of these forms of age discrimination and thus encourage decision makers to devise and implement positive reforms."

According to the paper, the "structural barriers not only create financial and security difficulties for people who work into their 60s and beyond, they also send a message to older workers that they should not be in the workforce." Specifically, the Commission argues that:
  • "[e]xtending workers compensation, income protection and superannuation provisions to all people who remain productive in the workforce will go some way towards ensuring that older Australians enjoy the same rights as the rest of the working population." and
  • "[e]nsuring that the licensing and regulatory requirements do not discriminate on the basis of age will also provide opportunities for people to work for as long as they are fit and productive."
Source: Australian Human Rights Commission News Release (June 6, 2012)

Eurofound Seminars Focus on Working Conditions for Older Workers

Eurofound held its 8th edition of the Foundation Seminar Series (FSS) in Rome in late May. Among the issues on the agenda were working conditions of older workers; national, regional and sectoral initiatives for active ageing; and best practice in companies.

Following are links to the presentations:



DAY 1 - Monday 28 May 2012
DAY 2 - Tuesday 29 May 2012
DAY 3 - Wednesday 30 May 2012

Source: Eurofound (June 5, 2012)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Connecticut: Report Suggests Aging Workforce Harming Economic Recovery

According to a report from the Connecticut Center of Economic Analysis at the University of Connecticut, the state is recovering from the recession, "but without the robustness needed to restore reasonably full employment and household income." Furthermore, "Connecticut faces a dismal future, with its 65 and over population doubling, its working age population shrinking while its quality deteriorates, and its under‐18 cohort contracts." However, according to "Recovery Stirring? But will Connecticut be too Old to Compete? The Connecticut Economic Outlook: May 2012," the state has "one asset that could vault it to the top of the growth charts and, critically, rescue it from its current bleak demographic trajectory."

According to the report's authors, the challenge for Connecticut is to replace all 120,000 jobs lost since 2008 and to create substantially more--at least 50,000 net net--to retain and attract new workers, to change its demographic future. To do this, they recommend that the state "unleash existing stranded tax credits in a highly targeted program to drive economic growth.  If the $2.5 billion in tax credits currently sitting unused and unusable on balance sheets could be redeemed ex post against the cost of major capital projects."
Given current labor force patterns and participation rates, with an aggressive expansion policy, Connecticut could effectively compete both to retain its own educated youth and to pull in thousands of new workers, significantly exceeding its previous employment level.  In the longer term, together with the initiatives in place, aggressive use of the stranded tax credits would launch Connecticut on a long‐term dynamic path that would continue expanding employment opportunities for two or more decades.
Source: The CT Mirror "Report: Aging workforce threatens state's economic recovery" (May 23, 2012)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Switzerland: Companies Begin To Look to Older Workers To Fill Skills Gap

A survey conducted by reports that 75% of Swiss companies say they see recruitement of people over age 50 as a solution to the shortage of qualified workers. However, only 37% of them are actually regularly hiring people over age 50, and 34% say they do not want to keep people on as salaried employees once they reach age 65.

"2012 Switzerland Recruiting Trends" („Recruiting Trends 2012 Schweiz“) documents the important trends and challenges of recruitment in Switzerland and contains estimates of the economic development of the labor market, and finds that the shortage of skilled labor remains a central problem of recruitment in Switzerland. Nine out of ten employers say that the age of their employees does not really matter, and that what is important is the true performance of employees. In addition, 86.3% want to keep their employees as long as possible in the company.

Sources: Press Release (May 23, 2012); "Message to older workers: we love you, we want you but not just yet" (May 23, 2012)

Monday, May 21, 2012

West Virginia: Demographer Reports Decline in Working Age Population

According to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau and evaluated by the West Virginia University Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER), the number of working-age people is on the decline in West Virginia. In addition, the overall number of the working-age population ages 18-64 decreased by 0.03% between July 1, 2010, and July 1, 2011.

BBER demongrapher Dr. Christiadi stated that "The year of 2011 may be the start of the new trend where the number of state’s working-age population gradually shrinks over time." The prime working-age population (people ages 25-44) saw the largest drop of 0.6%, and this trend took place in 48 of 55 counties (87.3%), with 13 counties (23.6%) declining more than 2%.
"When it comes to people getting or changing jobs, the state still sees more people moving out rather than moving in. In addition, West Virginia has more and more out-of-state college students, which partly explains why we see more college graduates moving out of the state," Christiadi said.
Source: West Virginia University Press Release (May 18, 2012)

Thailand: Aging of Workforce in Industrial Sector

According to an article in the English language "The Nation," Thaiand's industrial sector's labour force is aging, adversely affecting productivity. Research conducted by Srawooth Paitoonpong at the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) has found changes in the workforce's age, gender and educational make-up between 1991 and 2010. While the industrial-sector labour force has been younger than those in the agricultural and service sectors, Srawooth reports that the number of young workers had plunged from 55% to nearly 21% during that period, while the number of older workers rose to 20% from 12%.
The causes are the Kingdom's lower birth rate and the trend for young people to spend more years in educational institutions.

"The average age of a labourer was 32 in 2010, up from 27 in 2004," said Srawooth.

"The rising proportion of ageing workers has had a negative impact on labour productivity, so training is needed to improve older workers' productivity," he suggested.
Source: The Nation "Ageing workforce hits industrial-sector productivity, says TDRI report" (May 21, 2012)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

GAO Issues Report on Status of Unemployed Older Workers in the United States

The U.S. General Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report focusing on the status of unemployed older workers coming out of the recession. As a report to the Senate Special Committee on the Aging, the GAO's "Unemployed Older Workers: Many Experience Challenges Regaining Employment and Face Reduced Retirement Security" examines:
  1. how older workers’ employment status has changed since the recession,
  2. what risks unemployed older workers face and what challenges they experience in finding reemployment,
  3. how long-term unemployment could affect older workers’ retirement income, and
  4. what other policies might help them return to work and what steps the Department of Labor (Labor) has taken to help unemployed older workers.
The GAO concluded that "Although long-term unemployment hurts job seekers of all ages, it poses some greater challenges for older workers." Among other things, "older workers tend to stay unemployed longer, and those who regain employment generally sustain greater wage losses than do younger workers."

Without providing specifics, GAO recommended that, to foster the employment of older workers, the Secretary of Labor should consider what strategies are needed to address the unique needs of older job seekers, in light of recent economic and technological changes.
Labor agreed with our recommendation and noted a couple of its initiatives focused on the employment of older workers. Specifically, Labor cited its current evaluation of the Aging Worker Initiative demonstration project, which will assess the success of new interventions used by 10 local grantees to help connect aging workers with employment opportunities. In addition, Labor cited its sponsorship of the annual National Employ Older Workers Week that provides outreach opportunities for SCSEP grantees.
For an audio interview by GAO staff with Charles Jeszeck, Director, Education, Workforce & Income Security, go to GAO website.

Source: U.S. General Accountability Office Highlights (May 15, 2012)

Sunday, May 06, 2012

United Kingdom: Survey Shows Retirees Would Prefer Gradual Retirement

A survey of people planning to retire this year in the United Kingdom shows that 40% of them would be happy to work past 65 if they had the chance. According to the Prudential Class of 2012 study, 48% of men and 32% of women would be happy to continue working past the standard retirement age.

Prudential reports that the main motivation for 68% of the retirees who want to stay in the workforce past 65 is a desire to remain physically healthy and mentally active, while 39% do not like the idea of retiring and just staying at home. Despite wanting to stay in work, only 13% would choose to continue to work full-time with their current employer. Rather 49% of them would prefer to work part-time, either with their current employer or in a new role, in order to strike a better work life balance.

Vince Smith-Hughes, retirement expert at Prudential, said:
Gradual retirement is an increasing trend among pensioners, whether this means remaining in the same job on a flexible basis or even setting up their own business! Those retiring at 65 will face an average of nineteen years in retirement which makes the financial and social benefits of working for longer an even bigger draw for a new generation of industrious retirees.”
Source: Prudential Assurance Co. Press Release (May 2, 2012)

Thursday, May 03, 2012

United Kingdom: Cambridge Academics Approve Age 67 Mandatory Retirement

Cambridge University has introduced a compulsory retirement age of 67 for its academics to promote "intergenerational fairness" and enable career progression, according to press reports. Cambridge conducted the vote in response to the United Kingdom's abolition of the default retirement age, but it applies only to academic employees.

In voting for an "employer justified retirement age" (EJRA), the academics have decided that, upon reaching 67, they must either take their pension or reapply to stay at the University. Claire Churchard, writing in People Management, quotes Indi Seehra, HR director at the university as saying:
Introducing the EJRA for academics will support intergenerational fairness. It will allow our academics to progress through the promotional stages in the course of their career and help to create a balanced distribution of ages.


In an environment where innovation is needed, you need new people to come in to the cohort to create innovation. But you need the capacity to allow them in, and if you haven’t got people leaving then that will be a restriction on the capacity for new people.
Sources: People Management "Cambridge academics approve compulsory retirement age" (May 3, 2012); The Cambridge Student "Analysis: Should Cambridge dons be made to retire at 67?" (April 26, 2012)

New Hampshire: Aging Demographics a Cause for Concern

The Carsey Institute of the University of New Hampshire has issued a demographic report that while New Hampshire does not have a large population of seniors, a rapid increase in the older population is inevitable and coming soon. Among other things, in "New Hampshire Demographic Trends in the Twenty-First Century," the author, Kenneth M. Johnson, the Institute's senior demographer, argues that while New Hampshire’s large population of working-aged adults has provided much of the human capital the state needs to fuel continued economic growth, the lack of significant growth in these age groups is a cause for some concern.
New Hampshire’s age structure dictates that the number of older adults will increase rapidly in the next two decades. There are currently 97,000 65- to 74-year-olds in New Hampshire. In contrast, there are 179,000 55- to 64-year-olds and 226,000 45- to 54-year-olds.
New Hampshire's economy had been fueled by in-migration, but "the loss of migrants has an immediate financial impact on the state and implications for its human, intellectual, and social capital." During the recession, in fact, out-migration has resulted in New Hampshire experiencing a 10.6% net loss of the 20- to 29-year-olds coveted by employers. Thus, Johnson argues, "[a\ggressive programs exemplified by the 'Stay, Work, Play Initiative' should be considered to retain young adults, encourage those who left to return, and attract more young adults to the state."

Source: The Carsey Institute Publication Abstract (May 1, 2012)