Can Employer Demand Assist Older Staff Right this moment…And Tomorrow? – Heart for Retirement Analysis

The transient’s key findings are:

  • Many older staff are inclined to work longer, however will employers rent and retain them – right this moment and sooner or later?
  • A collection of CRR research on this subject present a case for tempered optimism.
  • First, arduous information counsel that older staff are at the very least as productive as youthful ones, although they do price extra.
  • Second, survey information present that employers’ views are largely in step with these arduous information, and job postings verify a willingness to rent.
  • Lastly, whereas the roles that older staff do right this moment could also be much less prevalent sooner or later, jobs that they’ve the talents for must be obtainable.


A standard chorus amongst retirement researchers is that longer careers are one of the simplest ways to make sure an enough retirement.  This chorus is commonly directed on the staff themselves – “that you must work longer!”  And that message appears to have been getting by way of.  For the reason that Nineties, the labor pressure participation charges of older people have elevated.  However, staff are only one facet of the market: the availability facet.  Their means to work longer additionally will depend on whether or not employers are keen to rent and retain them.  The query is, what does employer demand for older staff appear to be right this moment and sooner or later?  

To reply the query, this transient synthesizes the outcomes of a number of latest Heart research.  These research look at employer demand from three completely different angles: 1) the truth of older staff’ worth right this moment; 2) employers’ perceptions of that productiveness; and three) whether or not older staff’ expertise can be a great match for the roles of the long run.  

The dialogue proceeds as follows.  The primary part focuses on how right this moment’s staff have an effect on the underside line by way of productiveness and profitability.  The second part considers how employers understand the worth of older staff utilizing two measures: what employers say to a survey-taker and what they do with respect to postings on a job board.  The third part appears forward to evaluate how nicely older staff’ skills match projections of employer demand in 2030.  

General, room for tempered optimism exists.  First, older staff could also be simply pretty much as good as youthful staff for a agency’s backside line.  Second, employer perceptions seem combined – they are saying older staff are at the very least as productive however comparatively costly, which can clarify why their job listings particularly focusing on older staff are primarily for decrease paying positions with restricted advantages.  Third, whereas the roles older staff do right this moment could also be much less prevalent sooner or later, different jobs that older staff have the capability to do must be plentiful.

Are Right this moment’s Older Staff Good for Enterprise?

In assessing labor demand for any group, the hope is that staff’ contributions to agency profitability are the first consideration.  However, whereas measuring these contributions could sound easy, it isn’t.  The foremost problem is the provision of information that comprise each data on staff’ traits – like age – and goal measures of employer profitability.

Thankfully, Heart researchers obtained entry to restricted Census information and had been capable of mix three databases: 1) the Longitudinal Employer-Family Dynamics; 2) the Longitudinal Enterprise Database; and three) the Census’ Enterprise Register.  These datasets comprise data on worker traits and earnings, payroll and income, and site and trade.  So, the information permit researchers to trace companies and institutions over time, whereas observing their revenues, payroll, and the age composition of their workforces.

With these information in hand, the examine estimated how two measures of agency efficiency would change if youthful staff had been changed by older ones.  The primary measure was employee productiveness, outlined as income divided by the variety of staff.  The second measure was profitability, outlined as income per greenback of payroll.  The impact of exchanging youthful staff for older ones was estimated utilizing regression evaluation to check corporations with workforces which are in any other case related in racial, ethnic, and academic makeups, in addition to geographic location.  This estimation was carried out in two methods: 1) throughout many industries in a way that yielded non-causal (i.e., correlational) outcomes; and a couple of) in manufacturing solely, exploiting particular options of this trade to acquire causal outcomes.

Desk 1 exhibits the correlational outcomes.  On the productiveness facet, no clear proof helps the notion that older staff are much less productive.  Three of the 5 vital outcomes are constructive, with administration, manufacturing, and retail all displaying productiveness good points from older staff.  Simply two industries – specifically finance – present a big discount in productiveness.  The opposite outcomes are usually not considerably completely different from zero. 

Table showing the estimated effect of increasing the share of workers ages 55 and over on productivity and profitability

On profitability, the image is extra lopsided, with the estimates typically indicating {that a} bigger share of older staff is related to decrease earnings, which is according to a big physique of analysis displaying that wage progress for older staff continues even after their productiveness flattens out.  Nonetheless, within the majority of industries the outcomes weren’t considerably completely different from zero, indicating no clear distinction in profitability between older and youthful staff.  And, the extra refined estimation methodology – which sought to acquire causal outcomes – discovered no proof of decrease profitability in manufacturing for corporations with older workforces.  

So, whereas estimates fluctuate by trade, the proof means that older staff are at the very least as productive as youthful ones.  And, whereas older staff’ increased prices could eat into profitability in some industries, normally older and youthful staff are indistinguishable on this entrance.  Certainly, the highest-quality proof, related to the restricted however vital manufacturing trade, finds no proof of lowered profitability from older staff.  Nonetheless, if these findings are to be mirrored in precise demand for older staff, then employers will need to have a notion that matches this actuality.  

How Do Right this moment’s Employers Understand Older Staff?

To grasp present employer perceptions of older staff, the Heart used two approaches.  The primary was to easily ask employers by way of a survey.  The second was to discover what employers really do by analyzing job postings.

What Do Right this moment’s Employers Say about Older Staff?

In 2019 – earlier than the pandemic – the Heart commissioned a phone survey by Greenwald and Associates.  The survey queried employers on their views of staff’ productiveness and prices – two points that got here up within the examine above.  Determine 1 exhibits how employers considered the productiveness and prices of staff ages 55 and over versus these beneath 55, individually for skilled and help workers.

Bar graph showing Employer Evaluations of the Relative Productivity and Cost of Older Workers

The outcomes indicated that employers’ acknowledged views of older staff’ relative productiveness and prices are roughly according to the target measures of staff’ worth mentioned earlier.  On the productiveness entrance, only a few employers view older staff as much less productive.  The bulk say that older staff are equally productive, with a big fraction seeing them as extra productive.  On the price facet, the information is much less constructive.  Whereas the vast majority of employers see older staff as equally pricey, a large minority see them as extra pricey than youthful ones.

OK, so the vast majority of right this moment’s employers say that older staff are at the very least as productive as youthful ones, and lots of additionally view them as no costlier.  However, do employers act this fashion, recruiting older staff for alternatives on par with youthful ones?

Do Right this moment’s Employers Search Out Older Staff?

To discover whether or not employers actively recruit older staff, the researchers turned to, the one main job posting website focused to people ages 50 and over.  Particularly, the Heart researchers got entry to the web site’s postings as of November 2019, which captures the image earlier than the disruptions of the pandemic period.  Though is significantly smaller than or, it’s the solely certainly one of these web sites that may present information on jobs focused to older staff.  

The evaluation divided the roles on the web site into two sorts.  First, it used openings instantly posted to, which represented 20 % of all listings.  These “direct” postings seize employers aiming explicitly at older staff.  The second kind of postings are these fed to the positioning from  These “oblique” postings counsel employer willingness to rent older, in addition to youthful, staff.  Any distinction between direct versus oblique postings would supply some perception into the varieties of jobs that concentrate on older staff particularly as in contrast to people who are usually not meant solely for a particular age vary.   

Heart researchers subsequent turned to a comparability between and one of many largest normal job boards within the nation.  Since this normal job board incorporates tens of millions of listings, a random pattern of 15 listings from every state was chosen for a complete of 765 listings.  The evaluation compares these jobs to each all jobs posted on and the roles instantly focused at older staff.

When specializing in all jobs posted on, the outcomes comprise some constructive information for older job seekers, with an vital caveat (see Desk 2).  The primary constructive level is that the salaries for each the part- and full-time jobs on are considerably increased than these on the final jobs board.  One other piece of excellent information is that the roles usually tend to be full-time positions.  The primary caveat is that these jobs appear much less prone to point out both well being or retirement advantages.  So, older staff could have good alternatives for bridge jobs to retirement, however fewer possibilities to acquire the complete advantages usually related to “profession” jobs.

Table showing a comparison of job postings between (all and direct) and a general jobs board

When proscribing to jobs posted on to, nevertheless, the constructive takeaway of upper salaries doesn’t maintain.  The direct postings supply considerably decrease wages than the final jobs board.  And, instantly posted jobs have much less full-time work, extra short-term work, and fewer advantages.  So, the job postings most particularly focusing on older staff appear to be of decrease high quality than the postings that aren’t age particular, both these showing on or the final jobs board.

Summing Up Demand for Older Staff Right this moment

Based mostly on the findings of the three Heart research mentioned above, the scenario appears comparatively constructive for older staff right this moment.  In most industries, they’re at the very least as productive as youthful ones.  And, whereas their increased wages eat into profitability, in lots of industries older and youthful staff are indistinguishable with respect to this metric.  In a survey, right this moment’s employers point out that they acknowledge these goal measures, viewing older staff to be at the very least as productive as youthful ones, albeit generally with increased prices.  And, to an extent, employers seem to behave this fashion.  They put up comparatively high-salary jobs to an internet site focusing on older staff, though jobs that almost all instantly goal for these staff pay much less and have fewer advantages.  All-in-all, issues appear OK right this moment.  However, what about tomorrow?

Will Demand for Older Staff Maintain up Tomorrow? 

To evaluate whether or not older staff are prone to have good entry to jobs in 2030, Heart researchers tried two completely different approaches.  The primary one was merely to have a look at the roles older staff are doing right this moment and examine them to Bureau of Labor Statistics’ projections on the extent of these jobs in 2030.  This evaluation solutions the query: are older staff at the moment doing jobs which are anticipated to be plentiful on the finish of the last decade?

The second strategy addressed a barely completely different query: are older staff capable of do the roles that can be plentiful in 2030, even when they’re not doing them now?  This strategy required the creation of a “Suitability Index” that measured how nicely older staff are prone to do sure jobs.  The Index consists of three indicators for every occupation: 1) the extent to which the talents wanted erode with age; 2) the incapacity utility charges; and three) the typical retirement age.  The Index offers a handy abstract measure of which occupations are most congenial to older staff, which might then be in comparison with the expansion charges of assorted occupations projected to be obtainable in 2030.

The primary strategy yields a discouraging outcome.  Determine 2 exhibits {that a} one-percentage level improve within the share of older staff in an occupation right this moment is related to fewer jobs in 2030.  This unfavourable affiliation exists whether or not the provision of future jobs is measured completely utilizing the projected stage in 2030, or as a price of change between 2020 and 2030.

Bar graph showing the Relationship of Older Workers’ Share of Current Occupations to Employment Outlook in 2030 (Thousands of Jobs)

However what about jobs older staff can do, however could not at the moment be doing?  Right here, utilizing the Suitability Index, the Heart examine discovered no statistically vital relationship – neither a constructive one nor (importantly) a unfavourable one – between the suitability of occupations for older staff and the projected variety of jobs in occupations in 2030 or the expansion from 2020-2030.  This discovering is considerably encouraging, because it means that there is probably not a mismatch between the roles older staff are able to doing and people obtainable sooner or later.  In different phrases, these jobs older staff can do are apparently not going away, even when those they’re at the moment doing seem like turning into much less widespread.  


For many years, researchers have been encouraging staff nearing retirement age to maintain working.  However this prescription gained’t work until employers are additionally all for hiring and retaining these staff.  On the employer-demand facet, the general image from the Heart’s analysis appears pretty encouraging.  Right this moment, the arduous information counsel that older staff are at the very least as productive as youthful ones and largely indistinguishable on profitability.  Moreover, employers’ acknowledged perceptions on a survey are largely in step with these information.  So are employer actions; whereas employers appear to focus on lower-paying jobs particularly at older staff, in addition they present a willingness to put up high-paying jobs to

Lastly, little motive exists to doubt that the long run will look a lot completely different.  Whereas the precise jobs older staff do right this moment could also be much less prevalent sooner or later, our evaluation signifies that jobs in occupations which are appropriate for older staff are prone to develop at the same tempo as different jobs.  So, whereas older staff might have to alter with the occasions and enter some new occupations, their expertise ought to allow them to take action.  Taken collectively, plainly if older staff are keen to provide their labor then demand ought to seemingly be there, right this moment and into the long run. 


Munnell, Alicia H. and Gal Wettstein. 2020. “Employer Perceptions of Older Staff – Surveys from 2019 and 2006.” Working Paper 2020-8. Chestnut Hill, MA: Heart for Retirement Analysis at Boston Faculty.

Munnell, Alicia H., Gal Wettstein, and Abigail N. Walters. 2020. “What Jobs Do Employers Need Older Staff to Do?” Working Paper 2020-11. Chestnut Hill, MA: Heart for Retirement Analysis at Boston Faculty.

Munnell, Alicia H., Steven A. Sass, and Mauricio Soto. 2006. “Employers Attitudes in direction of Older Staff: Survey Outcomes.” Challenge in Transient 6-3. Chestnut Hill, MA: Heart for Retirement Analysis at Boston Faculty. 

Quinby, Laura D., Gal Wettstein, and James Giles. 2023. “Are Older Staff Good for Enterprise?” Working Paper 2023-19. Chestnut Hill, MA: Heart for Retirement Analysis at Boston Faculty.

Siliciano, Robert L. and Gal Wettstein. 2022. “Will the Jobs of the Future Assist an Older Workforce?” Working Paper 2022-2. Chestnut Hill, MA: Heart for Retirement Analysis at Boston Faculty.

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