Older Workers to Become More Prevalent in the Workplace

Almost 25% of workers will be 55 or older by the end of the decade.

July 13, 2023

A new report from Bain & Company, a global consulting and research firm, indicates that the workforce will shift to an older population by the end of the decade. Globally, as many as 150 million workers (25% of the workforce) will be 55 or older, which is almost 10 percentage points higher than in 2011.

There is an uptick in this trend in high-income countries, especially as 2030 approaches and the older population continues to grow in countries like Japan, Italy, Germany and China. As fewer young people join the workforce and later retirement builds momentum, 41% of American workers are predicted to work after turning 65. Thirty years ago, only 12% of workers remained in the workforce past 65.

“There was an increase in retirements in some countries during the peak-Covid Great Resignation, but that moment is now looking more like the Great Sabbatical as those workers increasingly return to work," said James Root, partner at Bain & Company and co-chair of the firm's think tank, Bain Futures.

Root continues, “People work longer into their lives, yet we've found it rare to see organizations put programs in place to fully integrate older workers into their talent system." Bain’s research shows that older workers are more focused on doing interesting and meaningful jobs, mastering their craft and having flexibility.

"With the right tool kit, aging workers can help employers get ahead of their talent gaps and create high-quality jobs that turn older workers' skills and experience into a competitive advantage," said Andrew Schwedel, partner at Bain & Company and co-chair of Bain Futures. "Companies that invest in recruiting, retaining, reskilling and respecting the strengths of this group will set themselves up for success as the demographics of the workforce continue to shift.”

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