Employees around the world are getting older, with a new study showing that 25% of the workforce in major nations will be older than 55 by the year 2031.
The business landscape has changed dramatically over the last few years. Between the pandemic accelerating the remote work movement and the looming recession causing mass layoffs across the tech industry, it's hard to keep track of what work is like in 2023.
Now, it appears that, on top of those changes, workplaces are going to have to accommodate older employees, considering they'll likely be a large percentage of your team in the near future.
25% of Workforce Will Be Over 55 in 2031
According to a study by Bain & Company, 25% of the workforce will be over 55 by the year 2031. This trend would represent a 10% increase from 2011.
Moreover, an estimated 150 million jobs will be staffed by older employees, pointing to a dramatic shift in the demographics of the average employee.
This study largely focused on G7 countries, including the US, the UK, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, and Japan, but the data showed that these nations aren't the only ones impacted by this trend. China, for example, is expecting its elderly workforce population (65 and over) to double by 2050.
Are Businesses Ready for an Older Workforce?
Considering this shift, it's fair to wonder whether or not the business world is prepared to onboard older employees. Unfortunately, the study found that most of them aren't.
“We’ve found it rare to see organizations put programs in place to fully integrate older workers into their talent systems.” – James Root, partner at Bain & Co.
While many businesses have implemented programs to facilitate more flexible schedules during the pandemic, very few are making strides when it comes to accommodating older workers.
In fact, a study from 2020 found that less than 4% of businesses have launched initiatives to address the problem, and only 27% said that it was “very likely” to pursue them in the future.
How Business Can Prepare for an Older Workforce
Now, if you're one of the many businesses that aren't prepared for an older workforce, you're in luck. The study didn't just provide this data, but also offered some tips for how you can keep your business from missing out on a valuable talent pool.
“With the right tool kit, aging workers can help employers get ahead of their talent gaps and create high-quality jobs that turn older workers’ skills and experience into a competitive advantage.” – Andrew Schwedel, Bain Futures Co-Chair
For starters, you'll want to understand what motivates your older employees. While employees in a particular demographic can be similar, every individual is different, and knowing exactly what is driving your older employees to come into work will set you and them up for long-term success.
On top of that, you'll want to reskill as much as possible, given the new assortment of tools available for all employees in virtually any industry. Finally, be sure to respect their strengths, as experience like theirs can be invaluable if you used correctly.