By Tara Gibson - March 24, 2020
In this day and age, it’s no surprise; people are living longer. Over the last 5 decades the number of older people in the population and in the workforce has grown and is projected to continue to grow. The Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics explains that by that one in four workers in the United States are over the age of 55. In the span of 20 years the employment of workers aged 65 or older has grown by an incredible 117%, and the employment of individuals ager 75 or older has also increased by the same rate. While the labor participation rate for workers aged 65 to 74 is expected to remain lower than those of prime working age, it is still anticipated to increase over the next decade, according to EHS Daily Advisor.
There is a large difference in population size when you look at the Baby Boomers and compare to subsequent generations. EHS Daily Advisor explains that there are not enough young workers to replace older workers currently in the workforce, essentially meaning employers must retain their older workers. There are many benefits from an aging workforce, including the following:
Generally, older workers are safer workers due to their past experiences. They’re less likely to engage in ‘risky’ behavior when compared to their younger coworkers. Although the aging workforce are injured less frequently, when they are injured of ill on the job it may be more severe. According to EHS Daily Advisor, normal age-related changes in an older worker may result in diminished cognitive, physical, or sensory capabilities.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, otherwise known as NIOSH, launched the National Center for Productive Aging and Work (NCPAW) back in 2015. EHS Daily Advisor explains that the center was launched to promote the lifelong wellbeing of older workers and promote productive aging.
Productive aging entails the following:
Some of the ways a workplace can encourage productive aging is outlined below by EHS Daily Advisor:
One way to overcome challenges in an aging workforce is by developing an inclusive multigenerational work culture. This can be done by encouraging employees from different generations to share knowledge with their coworkers. An older employee may have more experience or tips and tricks to make work easier for those who are younger. On the flip side, older employees may benefit from new methods and technologies from younger workers.
Older workers are very capable of learning new skills, but training may have to be modified in order to improve their learning efficiency.
EHS Daily Advisor provides the following considerations for training your aging workforce:
Some organizations have invested in workplace safety technology, such as mobile panic buttons, to help ensure the safety and protection of their employees. If there were to be an accident at work, users could quickly alert 9-1-1, first responders, and on-site personnel simultaneously with just the push of a button.
Tara is a Marketing Coordinator on the Rave Mobile Safety marketing team. She loves writing about all things K-12 education, and manages the Rave social media channels. When she's not working, she's taking care of her smiley, shoe eating, Instagram-famous fur baby, Enzo!
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