U.S. Businesses Not Prepared for Aging Workforce, Survey Shows

Employers that fail to consider flexible work options may be missing important opportunities to enhance both their business performance and their employees’ engagement, according to a new survey by Boston College researchers.

The survey finds that more than 25% of U.S. businesses have failed to plan for the effects of the aging American workforce, according to the national survey results.

The results seem alarming, given that many companies seemingly express concern about the coming shortage of millions of workers as baby boomers retire, taking with them years of experience, talent, and expertise.

But the results don’t lie. The National Study of Business Strategy and Workforce Development, conducted by the Boston College Center on Aging and Work, found that many U.S. businesses are still unprepared for changing workforce demographics.

“Even though organizations know that the workforce is aging and understand that their own workers are looking at retirement, many are not making plans for how business will adjust to these changes,” survey co-director Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes said in a release.

The survey asked 578 organizations from across the United States, including retail, manufacturing, healthcare, and social assistance.

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Key findings suggest that only 37% of employers have adopted strategies to encourage late career workers to stay past the traditional retirement age, despite the fact that late career employees “have high levels of skills and strong professional and client networks, a strong work ethic, low turnover, and are loyal and reliable.”

And only 33% of employers reported that their organization had made projections about retirement rates of their workers to either a moderate (24.1%) or great (9.7%) extent.

And companies shouldn’t focus on making the work-life balance appealing to only the Gen Y workers. Survey data shows that older workers also are demanding more flexibility. And because others claim that “60 is the new 50,” it’s critical that companies take action steps now.

“Most older workers who say that they want to extend the number of years they remain in the labor force also say that the typical eight-hour-day/five-day week doesn’t work for them,” Pitt-Catsouphes said.

Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.


1 Comment on “U.S. Businesses Not Prepared for Aging Workforce, Survey Shows

  1. We have found that many Baby boomers like the idea of working after retirement. But they don?t want to work as many hours and they may not even want to work in the same profession. Scaling down to working 4or 3 or even 2 days per week is a logical reality for many of these workers and companies must be ready to offer flexible hours.

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