By Melody Feaster
At first glance, this chart seems pretty cut and dry. There is no debate that we have an aging workforce. But what exactly does that mean? Yes the age of employees is increasing, however, that “age” translates to unmatched experience and talent. The more I contemplated this information, the more I realized that this data is telling a very interesting story.
When talking about the workforce in general, strategies for the future, and how to make presentations so that everyone understands and is interested, we tend to focus on the younger crowd. This is most likely because we are not certain what they want or need. However, if you take these statistics into consideration, we really should focus more on presenting to a middle-aged group.
I am not excited about this data, mostly because the median age is rising as opposed to dropping. I really believed when I looked up this statistic that the median age would be around 33, or half of 65. The math made sense. I figured the younger crowds would begin their careers between 18 – 23 and 65 is retirement age. So I found the median age of 42 surprised very surprising.
I began questioning the data, looking for reasons why the data was different from what I first imagined. Are people staying in the workforce longer? Are people retiring past the ages of 65-67? This makes sense, as our current situation at AMBAC accounts for about 10% of our employees over retirement age, but they are not retiring. Are younger people not getting jobs and starting their careers right out of school or college? Is it because the Baby Boomer generation accounts for much of this data? Or is it something else entirely? I’m not sure I have the answer, but I suspect all these factors play a part into the rising median age of the workforce.
When you figure most people could be working from age 18 to age 65 (67 in my case for Social Security) that accounts for 47 years of a person’s life. Why is the statistic trending higher? Our older folks show up early every scheduled workday and they work hard. But what does that mean we are doing as a society to help them during their golden years? Did they not plan accordingly to have money to retire? Is the economy changing so much that they can’t retire? There are so many questions, and not enough answers.
I am not suggesting we throw people out at 65-67. I just think that retiring should be a realistic goal that we can achieve ourselves, help others accomplish and something we aspire to do.