New Census Data Underscores Workforce Implications of Aging Population

Consider policies that attract, retain older workers

Kathy Gurchiek By Kathy Gurchiek March 14, 2018

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that soon, for the first time in the nation's history, there will be more older adults than teens and children. By 2030, Baby Boomers will outnumber Generation Z, people under the age of 18, by 78 million to 76.4 million. And all Boomers will be older than 65 by then.  

Businesses, take note: There will be 2.5 working-age adults for every retirement-age adult by 2060, an expected decrease from 3.5 working-age adults for every retirement-age adult in 2020, according to census data.

But just because Boomers have reached retirement age doesn't mean they're leaving work any time soon. Many are delaying retirement due to lack of retirement savings, among other reasons, so prepare to have an older workforce than what you may have been accustomed to having.

Those who do retire will take a vast amount of institutional knowledge out the door with them, presenting a big risk to employers.

HR professionals planning their organizations' future workforces may want to look at policies—such as flexible scheduling and phased retirement—that would help them recruit older workers or to incentivize their aging employees to delay retirement. Knowledge transfer and training can keep their organizations competitive.

SHRM Online has collected the following stories from its archives and other news outlets about the aging workforce and how HR professionals and their organizations can deal with this talent challenge.  

[SHRM members-only toolkit: Employing Older Workers]   

Older People in U.S. Are Projected to Outnumber Children for First Time 

The demographic shift deepens challenges for fiscal policy and economic growth. Lower population growth could drag on economic growth. This year's prime-age workforce—ages 25 to 54—is about 630,000 smaller than the Census Bureau projected it would be just three years ago.

"This is a country that should be grateful for all the immigration it's had over the last 25 years," said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution. "These projections put even more of an exclamation point on it."

The bureau's projections are the first since 2015. They include revisions to birth, death and immigration rates, the key drivers of population growth. 
(New York Times)  

Will Baby Boomers Ever Retire? 

The Baby Boomers of the world are opting out of retirement in favor of working longer. Bloomberg's QuickTake takes a closer look at the generation that continues to rewrite the workplace rules. 
(Bloomberg)    

Preparing for an Aging Workforce  

Now that the large Baby Boom generation has reached retirement age, organizations are faced with the prospect of losing many workers with key talents, experience and skills. As part of the SHRM and the SHRM Foundation three-year initiative supported by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, SHRM Research conducted a survey of HR professionals to learn more about how organizations are preparing for an aging workforce. 
(SHRM Foundation)   

4 Ways for HR to Overcome Aging Workforce Issues  

The aging of the U.S. workforce has been called the "silver tsunami." Ten thousand Baby Boomers turn 65 every day—a trend that began in 2011 and will continue until 2030. Despite their reputation for being workaholics, their average retirement age is 61 to 65, which means that the workplace needs to prepare for a veritable tidal wave of turnover.

Between Baby Boomer retirements and Millennial job-hopping, HR professionals are often left scrambling to curb the damage caused by massive employee exodus. 
(SHRM Online)   

Reconsider Recruiting Tactics to Find Older Workers  

Age bias is a myopic view that employers facing tightening labor markets continue to hold at their peril, according to Jeff Luttrell, senior director of talent acquisition and staffing at Alorica, an outsourcing and offshoring company in Irvine, Calif. 
(SHRM Online)   

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