Seeing Gray Workforce as a Business Opportunity
As the “graying” of the American workforce surges, there will undoubtedly be an increasing demand for workplace services related to aging generations. After all, if: “10,000 Baby Boomers a day will turn 65 – every single day between now and the year 2030,” (Taylor 2014, 6), doesn’t that also mean 10,000 potential new customers reach that age every day?
“The United States is projected to age significantly over this period, with 20 percent of its population age 65 and over by 2030,” said Jennifer Ortman, chief of the Census Bureau’s Population Projections Branch. “Changes in the age structure of the US population will have implications for health care services and providers, national and local policymakers, and businesses seeking to anticipate the influence that this population may have on their services, family structure and the American landscape.” (US Census Bureau, May 14, 2014 news release)
One interesting business venture capitalizing on this idea is the “Work Reimagined Pledge,” an initiative of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), which allows companies to pledge to the following:
“Working with AARP, participating companies have signed a pledge to level the playing field for experienced workers. Work Reimagined is a national effort to help employers solve their current and future staffing challenges and direct job seekers to employers that value and are hiring experienced workers. Employers who sign the Pledge agree that they have:
· Openness to the value of mature workers
· Nondiscriminatory HR policies
· Immediate hiring needs (at the time of Pledge signature)” (“Work Reimagined Pledge,” 2014, American Association of Retired Persons)
In return, the AARP links to jobs posted by these companies and provides free public relations.
Another pioneering program is MIT’s AgeLab, which was founded in 1999 to address the changing needs of the aging population through innovative thinking, technology and programs. AgeLab embraces the evolving demands of older people, seeing an exciting challenge where others see headaches and problems. (AgeLab, referenced June 2014)
Is providing services to meet the needs of companies with older workers an untapped but potentially lucrative business opportunity? Identifying problem behaviors and helping generations communicate more effectively can very possibly make the workplace more productive. Wellness services, such as wellness programs, could be well-received by companies in general, and could be targeted to older workers as one aspect of service. Products designed with the aging worker in mind, such as ergonomic desks, software to make digital reading more comfortable, and impact-absorbing floor mats, will make the workplace more welcoming for workers of all ages. Even specialized training to help workers adopt new technologies more quickly could be targeted towards the older worker while benefiting the entire workforce.
AgeLab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Referenced June 2014. http://agelab.mit.edu/about-agelab)
Taylor, Paul. April 10, 2014. “The NEXT America,” Pew Research Center. http://www.pewresearch.org/next-america/
“Fueled by Aging Baby Boomers, Nation’s Older Population to Nearly Double, Census Bureau Reports.” News Release, May 14, 2014. US Census Bureau. http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/aging_population/cb14-84.html
“The Work Reimagined Pledge.” American Association of Retired Persons. Referenced June, 2014. http://workreimagined.aarp.org/participating-companies
Post written by Kay. This article is an experiment in new ways of writing for this blog – more journalistic, lighter on opinion. Like it? Leave a comment to let us know!