Flip through any women’s magazine or watch the commercials during your favorite TV show and you’ll notice all the products and services offering to help us to “fight aging.” With all the cultural pressure to look and act younger, it might take you off guard how old some of your colleagues and clients and customers actually are.
Some older workers remain in the workforce for financial reasons; the economic downturn negatively impacted many retirement plans. But many older workers stay because they still love their jobs. Others remain in the workforce because of retirement anxiety; some older workaholics don’t know what they’d do with all that spare time!
The American workforce is more age diverse than ever before. This increase in older workers is expected to continue. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates that by 2016 there will be nearly 70% more American workers over 65 than there were in the past decade. Despite this many older workers still report feeling unwelcome in the workforce. Some older workers feel their employers wish they’d retire while others experience discrimination when applying for new opportunities. Ironically employers should be thrilled to have them on board so they can capitalize on their age diverse insight.
One of every eight Americans is over 65. This means more and more of your clients and customers are getting older too. Engaging your older workers can help you develop insight about the needs of your clients and customers.
Most employers have embraced diversity in the workforce. Harnessing the perspectives of employees of different races, religions and sexual orientations helps an organization better serve its diverse market of clients and customers. Embracing age diversity at the workplace is just another way organizations can remain competitive in an ever increasingly diverse marketplace.