FEDweek

Employer Views of Older Workers More Positive

Employers have caught on to the growing view of older worker ages they will work to a relatively high age or never retire, and they view older workers more positively than might be expected given the concerns about ageism in the workplace, a study has found.

A survey of employers by the TransAmerica Center for Retirement Research asked private sector companies of a variety of sizes to pick all that applied from a list of 12 potential perceptions of workers age 50 and over. Eighty-five percent selected at least one positive perception and a similar percentage of employers said they are supportive of employees working past 65.

“Many employers indicated that they bring more knowledge, wisdom and life experience (60 percent), are more responsible, reliable and dependable (54 percent), and are a valuable resource for training and mentoring (49 percent). In contrast, a smaller majority of employers (59 percent) cited a negative perceptions, including higher healthcare costs (35 percent), higher salaries (29 percent), and higher disability costs (15 percent),” it said.

Such findings could have implications for federal employees considering working outside the government after their federal retirement, at least on a part-time basis.

The survey that found 72 percent of employers agree that many of their employees expect to work longer or not retire and that 77 percent agree that many of their employees who do retire will continue working after retirement either full-time or part-time.

About half say that many of their employees envision phasing into retirement–rather that working until the can no longer or retiring once they reach a certain age or financial position–but “few have programs in place to support” flexible retirement and only four-tenths offer flexible schedules.

In the federal workplace, there is a formal phased retirement program although agencies offer that work arrangement only rarely, while flexible work schedules are commonplace.