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Looking Toward an Older Workforce: A Focus on New Mexico Employers

With 54 percent of New Mexico's total workforce currently age 45 or older, the state's employers are likely to be experiencing shortages of qualified workers in the next five years. At the same time, workers approaching what is considered traditional retirement age may, for a variety of reasons, be more likely to remain in the labor force. This AARP survey of randomly selected New Mexican employers with three or more workers assesses their awareness of – and readiness for dealing with – these trends.

Of the 437 surveyed employers...

  • 78 percent are aware of the impending worker shortage, but only 24 percent have taken steps to prepare for it
  • 75 percent consider retaining institutional knowledge that is lost when employees retire or leave to be highly important, but only 30 percent have a formal process for enabling departing workers to share knowledge they have obtained on the job
  • 63 percent currently use at least one strategy for encouraging and allowing older workers to work past the traditional retirement age while 44 percent use none

Strategies currently being used most frequently in New Mexico include:

  • providing training to upgrade skills
  • hiring retired employees as consultants or temporary employees
  • easing into retirement with reduced schedules
  • offering part-time work without benefits

The mail survey was conducted from October 13th to November 17, 2006, using a random sampling of businesses provided by Wilkerson & Associates. Further information about the survey may be obtained by contacting the report's co-author, Joanne Binette, at 202-434-6303. (39 pages)