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Perceptions of an Aging Workforce Trend

As the result of two major long-predicted shifts in workforce demographics – a substantial aging of the workforce and a diminishing number of younger workers – employers today are facing unique human resource challenges. On one hand, there is a potentially abundant age 50+ workforce with many showing indications of choosing to continue working beyond the traditional retirement age of 65 and, on the other, a smaller pool of younger workers following close behind.

American businesses, perhaps small firms in particular, could thus be confronted with the possibility of losing important organizational knowledge with every worker who leaves the company. These AARP surveys of employers examine the extent to which organizations in several states are implementing approaches to recruit or keep age 50+ workers and retain organizational knowledge.

The surveys explore:

  • employers' awareness of potential labor shortages as a result of baby boomers retiring and what they are doing to prepare
  • the extent to which individual organizations see themselves experiencing a loss of knowledge when an employee retires or leaves, and if processes exist for that knowledge and experience to be contributed by employees after they leave
  • strategies currently being used to accommodate older workers, such as training to upgrade skills, hiring retirees as consultants or temporary staff, enabling them to ease into retirement by reducing their work schedules

The telephone surveys of 400 employers in each state were conducted for AARP by Alan Newman Research during November and December 2006. Further information about the surveys may be obtained by Jennifer Sauer of AARP Knowledge Management at 202-434-6207.