According to a new AARP survey of experienced workers, nearly 9 in 10 work for financial reasons, but approximately 8 in 10 either enjoy or feel useful doing their work.
Among those who plan to retire, over 1 in 4 plans to start a business or earn money in some independent way, such as a gig economy job. Given employers’ need for talent, it makes great business sense to hire experienced workers, as demonstrated by additional AARP research, the organization said.
“With rich work histories, varied experiences and expertise, older workers want to work, they’re ready to work, and they need to work,” said AARP Vice President of Financial Resilience Susan Weinstock. “More employers are looking for qualified candidates and experienced workers should have the opportunity to be judged on their merits, rather than their age.”
To highlight job opportunities among 50-plus workers, AARP launched an employer pledge for companies who hire workers based on ability, regardless of age. Since 2013, 650 employers have signed AARP’s pledge. AARP also continues to educate employers about the value of older workers and the benefits of a multigenerational workforce.
“According to government data, workforce participation rates for older workers exceed participation before the Great Recession, while younger worker participation is below pre-recession numbers,” said Weinstock. “While employment trends for older workers are favorable, with 27.9 percent of 55-plus workers suffering long-term unemployment compared to 18.1 percent of 16-54 workers, the long-term unemployment disparity suggests that entrenched age-bias still exist too often in the workplace.”
Findings from AARP’s survey, The Value of Experience, show that many experienced workers still face adversity in their job hunt or place of employment. More than 9 in 10 workers see age discrimination as somewhat or very common.
At work, more than 6 in 10 older workers (61 percent) report they’ve seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace, and of those concerned about losing their job in the next year, one-third (34 percent) list age discrimination as either a major or minor reason, according to the study.
On the job hunt, almost half (44 percent) of older job applicants say they have been asked for age-related information from a potential employer. Only 3 percent report they have made a formal complaint to a supervisor, human resource representative, another organization or a government agency.
Nearly 6 in 10 (59 percent) strongly support strengthening U.S. age discrimination laws.
AARP wants to ensure that 50-plus workers are empowered, valued and have the opportunity to work as long as they need to or desire.
The full study, including the annotated survey, detailed methodology, and additional fact sheets, can be found at www.aarp.org/valueofexperience.