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August 2, 2016

Ergonomics Pays : A Series On Lowering Costs in the Workplace : The demographics of the Workforce in the USA

Age Structure in the present and future

The data from the US Census Bureau are readily available, but few companies actually incorporate these findings into their long-term planning. The proportion of the American population aged between 18 and 44 declined from 39.9% in 2000 to 36.5% in 2010 while the group 45-65 increased from 22% to 26.4%. The aging population increases even faster in countries like China and Brazil. The proportion of global population aged 65+ is expected to increase about 7.5% today to 17% in 2050.[1] This trend is not expected to vary for at least another 15 years.

Working into old age

One striking development in the market for employees over 60 years in the US is that many of the people working longer – and beyond the age of 65 – are highly qualified and often well educated.

The era of early retirement in the USA is over: living longer and maintaining health enables both men and women to work longer. Older workers continue working beyond the retirement age of 65. Technological changes now make work easier for the older generation (with hearing aids and computers), and people now retire in stages; it is a process, not an event. Employees want to continue working part-time or in a different field, making the workplaces more multigenerational.[2] As a result, workplaces will need to accommodate a wider range of ages working in more flexible schedules.

[1]United Nations. World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision
[2]JF Quinn, Work, retirement and the encore career. Generations 2010, 34(3):45-55
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