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Nine in 10 employers taking steps to keep older workers on the job

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A new study from LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute has found that 92 percent of employers are taking action to help older workers stay on the job.

Two thirds of employers in the study offer flexible hours while 42 percent offer flexibility on where employees work such as, working from home or other locations.  Other adjustments include job training/re-skilling and job-sharing.

Why make these accommodations for older workers? A more mature workforce is good for business.  Eight in 10 employers said their organizations lose experience, institutional knowledge and leadership when an older worker leaves. 

By choice and by need, older workers want to stay employed.  Healthier lifestyles may make it possible for Baby Boomers who enjoy their careers to pursue them longer.  For many others, a longer life combined with low retirement savings makes working longer a necessity to make up for their financial shortfall.

As the Baby Boom generation continues to age, the numbers of workers in their 50’s and 60’s keeps growing.  U.S. Department of Labor figures show a 20-year trend where the percentage of workers age 55-plus grew from 12 percent in 1992 to 21 percent in 2012.

In that same period, the percentage of workers age 16-54 declined 8 percent.  Projections for 2022 suggest workers age 55-plus will grow to one fourth of the U.S. labor force.  (See chart here.)

These shifts in the labor force affect a company’s benefit plan design. Among the challenges cited by employers were increased healthcare benefits costs.  Half said they plan to absorb the costs into the business while 4 in 10 will pass on cost increases to employees. 

While employers need to have competitive benefits for all ages, 9 in 10 are interested in plan design to manage retirement and retention of older workers.  Seventy percent of employers also said they look to their plan provider for guidance on how to transition workers into retirement. Half said they would depend on a plan advisor or consultant for this advice.



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