Is Retirement Getting More Difficult for Older Workers?
Workers over the age of 55 are finding it harder to find jobs within their normal pay ranges, no matter how much education or experience they have. They hear remarks about how overqualified they are, or how companies can’t afford to pay them what they’re used to.
Forced to Take Lower Salaries
These older workers are often displaced from companies where they have invested decades of their work life. Once back in the marketer for a new position, it takes considerable time to find one. In the meantime, there are still bills to pay.
As house payments are missed, utilities come overdue, and 401(k) savings are depleted, these well-qualified workers are forced to take any position they can to continue providing for their families.
At the age of 55, many workers have not only grown used to a certain type of living (thanks to years of blood, sweat, and tears) but people fail to realize they may still have children at home. Many put off having children until their thirties, placing older teen children at home around the age of 55 – not to mention those in college.
More Workers 55+
An increasing number of people over the age of 55 are employed. The jobless rate for this age range is only 3.1%, in comparison to 3.9% of the population. Yet once unemployed, these same workers also stay out of work longer than those who are half their age.
After entering their sixties, workers suffer from a slow but steadily declining payrate. This payrate goes down regardless of how much education or industry-related experience they may have.
Why People Are Working Longer
People are living longer, and they are staying healthier into a much more advanced age. The rate of traditional pension programs has also begun to phaseout, lending towards lower guaranteed income after the working years end and retirement comes. All this translates to a desire to stay in the working force well past the years they chose to retire in decades past.
This could fulfill an exceptionally large gap in our economy. The ongoing labor shortage could be remedied by employing these older workers. But it would only work if employers were willing to employ them, which tends towards not being the case. But why?
Employers have a mind set that productivity rates decrease after a certain age. Lower productivity levels mean a decrease in the return on investment (ROI) per employee. Its natural to want the most for what you pay, but this presents a serious question. Is hiring for quantity better than hiring for quality?
Obviously, older workers bring considerable experience to the table – oftentimes in addition to advanced education. With experience comes an ability of knowing what will or won’t work in certain situations, and a chance to acquire skills that younger employees have not yet been able to.
The question becomes whether the modern employer is not willing to sacrifice productivity, but whether they are willing to make the even trade for experience instead.