Region – The oldest segments of the population are also the fastest growing segments of the American labor force, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS reports that younger members of the workforce have a stable, lower level of participation but the numbers of older workers – those 65 to 75 and older – are expected to increase steadily through 2024.
“It’s a good thing,” said Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC], in a press release. “The reason: an older workforce is a more engaged workforce. People are not only living longer these days, they’re living healthier, more active lives. That, combined with the greater freedom at home that comes with reduced family obligations, makes older employees more focused on the satisfaction of a job well done.”
Working seniors have a positive effect on the economy, according to the AMAC. They have more disposable income and, as a result, have created a growth market for private sector companies catering to their needs.
Weber acknowledges that workplaces have become more dependent on new and developing technologies than ever before. And some employers might think that seniors who remain on the job as they grow older might not be able to adapt. But, he adds, the old saw that suggests you can’t teach an old dog new tricks misses the mark, noting that the former chairman of General Electric, Jack Welch, proved it.
In 1999, Welch created what he called a reverse mentoring program at GE that paired “employees in their 20s and 30s who were knowledgeable about the Internet and interested in new technology with executives—including Welch, himself—who were novices in that realm.”