A Booming EconomyAccording to the most recent Employment Situation Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for December 2019, non-farm payroll employment rose a whopping 155,000 and the unemployment rate remained steady at 3.5%. There are .8 people available per current job opening in the United States. That means there are more job openings than qualified resources to fill those roles. What strategy(ies) can be used to close this massive gap? One solution might be to tap into the large number of people fifty years and over who can still be hyper-productive and are willing to work.
According to a recent outstanding report from, Marsh & McLennan Advantage Insights, ”The Twin Trends of Aging and Automation: Leveraging a tech-empowered experienced workforce,” the authors believe that:
“Experienced workers can not only plug the talent gap but also represent the best talents in a rising global longevity economy.”
While 65% of the surveyed companies are investing in reskilling initiatives, only 4% are investing in experienced workers, often because of preconceived biases and/or misconceptions.
What Does the Law Say?
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA; 29 U.S.C. § 621 to 29 U.S.C. § 634) is a US labor law that forbids employment discrimination against anyone at least 40 years of age in the United States (see 29 U.S.C. § 631). In 1967, the bill was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The ADEA prevents age discrimination and provides equal employment opportunity under conditions that were not explicitly covered in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It also applies to the standards for pensions and benefits provided by employers, and requires that information concerning the needs of older workers be provided to the general public.
Bias is Still Booming
Even though the law has been in place since 1967, there is still plenty of age-related bias in the workplace. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article:
“Their fears aren’t unfounded. About 56% of U.S. workers who are 50 or older are pushed out of jobs before they plan to retire, and only one in 10 who find new work ever again earn as much, according to a recent study by Urban Institute economist Richard Johnson.”
The economy continues to boom. There are more jobs than skilled people to fill them. Many innovative companies are looking to invest in experienced workers (the lost generation) to help close the gaps. Ageism is still alive and well in the US, but it's against the law and exposes companies who do it to not only legal liability but significant opportunities to bring in highly-qualified experienced workers.
Additional Reading: "AARP Report: 50-Plus Population Driving Force in US Economy, Massive Growth Projected"
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