As a demographic, the aging population rarely gets the attention it deserves. Instead, conventional wisdom sees younger generations as the sole focus of workforce development for achieving business objectives. But this is far from the truth.
Technological advancements are enabling humans today to live longer than ever. According to the World Health Organization, between 2000 and 2016, global average life expectancy increased by 5.5 years to 72. This phenomenal growth in longevity is having a telling impact on various aspects of the economy.
For example, in the U.S., today’s older population is more educated than that of 1965, with 25% holding a bachelor’s degree (as of 2014) compared with only 5% in 1965. Not surprisingly, a growing number of older people are choosing not to retire. This has several implications—not just for government institutions, but for businesses that view this population as employees and/or consumers. At a time when multiple generations of workers are competing for jobs, businesses must rethink how they build and manage their talent pools, particularly as automation and AI increasingly reset how work will be conducted over time.
Part one of this series looks at the impact of the aging workforce and the factors leading businesses to rethink their workforce mix.