A Good Idea Finally Finds a Good Home
Researching the Plans of the 'Retiring' Boomers

A Market to Watch: Senior Workers

I've heard a lot of presentations about the coming labor shortage, but I haven't seen enough studies about the changing demographics of the workforce. As the baby boomers age, they will NOT leave for retirement and be replaced by a similar workforce. The new workforce will be much, much more diverse. We will have many more instances of older people working for younger people. It's going to be very unpredictable because I don't think employers are getting prepared.

In the LA Times, Catherine Saillant shares some observations, statistics and signs of disconnect:

In a 2003 survey, the AARP, the nation's largest senior citizens organization, found that 68% of those between the ages of 50 and 70 said they expected to work past normal retirement age. Financial need was the No. 1 reason cited.

In California, 523,000 people older than 65 are still working, said Bonnie Parks, of the state's Employment Development Department. Of those, 144,000 are in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, Parks said.

Companies are more open to hiring older people because of labor shortages, Parks said. Recent retirees are being coaxed back to work in the fields of nursing, accounting and retail, she said.

But once workers reach about 75, finding work becomes much more difficult. Employers worry that those in their 80s and 90s might not have the strength or mental capacity to get the job done, said Parks, who runs the employment department's Senior Advocate Office.