retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

The New York Times this morning has a story about how “two age groups, 65 to 74 years old and 75 and older, are projected to have faster annual rates of labor force growth than that of any others, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the decade from 2014 to 2024, the labor force growth rate for 65- to 74-year-olds is expected to be about 4.5 percent annually, and about 6.4 percent annually for those 75 and older … More than half of American baby boomers plan to work past age 65 or not retire at all, according to a report by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. Many worry that they will outlive their savings, that Social Security benefits will be reduced, and that they may someday need expensive long-term medical care.”

One of the byproducts of this trend has been the development of programs by some businesses that see such workers as having an enormous upside because of their institutional knowledge and experience. An increasing number of employers, the story says, “are hiring, retaining and supporting workers over 50 … Those employers offer training and education opportunities and flexible scheduling; adapt physical tasks to the abilities of workers; provide advancement and leadership training for workers of all ages; retrain older workers; and allow phased retirement.”

Speaking as someone who is rapidly approaching this age group but has no plans of retiring anytime soon, I find this story to be reassuring. But … I also think it lays down a challenge to these workers. While businesses can do a lot to adjust to an aging workforce, those of us who are aging have to do everything we can to remain up-to-date in our skills and interests. We may lose a step, but we have to keep moving forward, and meet employers more than halfway. We also have to be careful not to fall into bad habits, like thinking or saying, “But we’ve always done it this way,” a statement that is just as bad as, ‘Hey you kids, get off of my lawn.”

We all have to keep our Eyes - and minds - Open.
KC's View: