Better with Age: The Rising Importance of Older Workers | Bain & Company

Workforce Trends

This article discusses the changing demographics of the workforce, with an increasing number of older workers and the need for companies to adapt to their evolving needs and priorities. A few key points include: Aging workforce: Populations are aging, and work lives are lengthening. The proportion of older workers (55 and above) is growing significantly in developed countries, and this trend is expected to continue. In the Group of Seven countries (see Figure 1 below), “workers age 55 and older will exceed 25% of the workforce by 2031, nearly 10 percentage points higher than in 2011, according to Bain analysis. Japan is the extreme case. By 2031, Japanese workers 55 and older will approach 40% of the workforce.” Motivations change with age: Worker motivations evolve with age, with attributes like interesting work and autonomy becoming more important around age 60. The article provides a few tactics on how organizations can adapt their approaches to talent management to include older workers and leverage their unique skills and motivations. Figure 7 shows 10 work preferences/priorities (e.g., compensation, interesting work, job security, etc.) and how they can vary across age groups. Organizations can use this information as one of several data points for informing strategies to recruit older workers. Other ideas are discussed.