How Employers Are Responding to the Demands of an Aging Society

How Employers Are Responding to the Demands of an Aging Society


It’s official: In America, land of opportunity and home of enterprise and innovation, employers large and small understand that Americans want to work well into what used to be our “retirement years.”

The Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies just published its 17th annual survey, All About Retirement: An Employer Survey, representing one of the largest databases on the topic and a benchmark for over nearly two decades.

Related: 15 Great Jobs for Retirees

Here are the most important takeaways that reveal the transformation of work in America, reflecting parallel trends in countries around the globe as we all modernize, urbanize and age:

1. More than 75 percent of employers agree that many of their employees want to continue working either full-time or part-time after age 65.

2. More than 80 percent of employers say they are “supportive” of employees working past 65.

3. All employers seem to recognize that we need a new definition of work for our era of longevity – working flexibly, differently and/or in different capacities.

4. To make good on these demands for a different kind of work “post retirement,” about 39 percent of employers offer flexible work schedules to help employees transition to retirement, and 27 percent encourage employees to participate in succession planning, training and mentoring. While there’s still a considerable gap between what employees want and what employers offer, things are improving. This kind of massive change takes time and now that we are just at the beginning of a new era, well, it’s a great start!

The marketplace is also responding to this massive emerging trend. Here are three recent data points that highlight the $15 trillion silver economy – when Madison Avenue jumps onboard, you know that change is here:

1. A bank advertises the need for to plan as if you were “to live to 100.” A call to action based on 21st century longevity for those of us still working in mid-career. Wow!

2. Or, how about the CNN story about travelling for to the 55-and-older set? It’s another signal that aging is not just about health care and hospitals.  

Related: How Rising Health Care Costs Could Hurt Your Retirement

3. And then there’s this tearjerker video from Gillette. This sweet story about a man caring for his elderly father reminds us that business can help all of us by developing new products that make elder care easier. 

Connect the dots from a reimagined working life well into our 80s to the market and business transformation underway, and you begin to understand what Transamerica is telling us about employees and employers in our aging world.

While there is still a gap between how much employers want to support “older workers” and what they’re actually doing, businesses know that treating the aging of society as a business strategy is both a competitive win in the marketplace and a key focus point to attract and retain talent. Welcome to the 21st century!