Next Stage: Are you age-ready | Mercer

Next Stage: Are you age-ready? 2019

Our Thinking /

Next Stage: Are you age-ready?
Next Stage: Future-Fit Approaches to Longevity
Calendar30 august 2019


The world of work is rapidly changing. Populations are getting older and birth rates are declining in developed markets. Talent shortages are becoming a serious problem for businesses all over the world, with some geographies and industries feeling the pain more acutely than others. Add to this the impact of advances in technology, making it extraordinarily complex for organizations to develop a long-term people strategy. Intensifying the pressure companies are already facing: Age discrimination litigation is on the rise. To protect their employees and their organizations, leaders must acknowledge that ageism is both discriminatory and destructive — and take swift action to stamp it out. This complex reality demands new strategies if companies are to stay ahead and out of risk.

Living longer, working longer

Workers over the age of 50 bring immeasurable experience to the workplace — and, increasingly, these workers are remaining in the workforce, continuing to contribute to their organizations’ success. While some choose to continue working, others are obligated to do so out of financial necessity. Whatever the reason, the fact is that people are living longer and working longer, and this has serious implications for employers.

Seizing opportunity or squandering it?

Although many organizations have made advances in terms of gender diversity and inclusion, many have not yet taken much notice of this important growing segment of experienced workers. In today’s turbulent employment market — affected simultaneously by threats of automation, aging populations, skills changes/scarcity, migration challenges and the need for new life transitions — it’s hard to believe that employers are not yet as age ready as they should be.

Not focused on your experienced workforce? You should be

Because experienced workers are largely ignored or misperceived in organizations’ strategic workforce plans, businesses are failing to capitalize on the value older workers can deliver. Age-ready employers will:

  • Maximize operational effectiveness and capitalize on the value that workers with decades of experience can deliver 
  • Ensure that they can tap into a larger pool of talent given that declining birth rates are triggering real labor shortages in developed geographies 
  • Enable innovation and customer connectivity 
  • Increase knowledge-sharing and strengthen collaboration among workers
  • Ensure fairness and inclusivity – avoiding litigation risks
  • Better align the workforce with future needs of the business

The risks of not tapping into your workforce potential

Companies face increasing pressure as a result of changing demographics, dwindling talent supply and the growing “gig” economy. And while technological advancements contribute to widening gaps in knowledge and skills in the current workforce, workers are increasingly delaying retirement — or changing what it means to retire. Add to that the rapidly changing regulatory landscape, and employers are feeling pressed on all sides.

But those that continue to ignore the experienced workforce are courting unnecessary risk. Failure to capture the potential contributions of experienced workers contributes to talent gaps and mismatched skills. Age discrimination and wrongful termination claims are on the rise, and decreased motivation and productivity result when people remain in the organization not because they want to but because they can’t afford to retire.

Breaking down barriers

Ageism and age discrimination create unnecessary roadblocks — cultural and psychological barriers that prevent companies from fully leveraging the experience of their older workers.

Getting the most from your experienced workforce

In our new point of view, we uncover ways to optimally engage and leverage the experienced worker — a critical component of the workforce of today and tomorrow. Organizations that tap into this opportunity will be best-positioned to take full advantage of the future of work.

Now is the time to develop a winning approach to aging and longevity.

Discover the steps you can take today to build an age-ready organization. Contact Mercer’s Next Stage team to get started. 

  Discover the steps you can take today to build an age-ready organization. Download the point of view.
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