Through the ages continuous efforts by scientists have increased the average life expectancy. Foreseen is that in the course of this century life expectancy will reach 100 years and possibly far beyond.
Endless medical research and efforts are made with the aim of prolonging life; fighting life threatening diseases, predicting new epidemics and curing those who are expected to become victim of and suffer from for example Alzheimer, world’s worst enemy, as one becomes completely dependent on society, our love and care.
Undeniably the main challenge of the preceding is to grant mankind a long healthy life and find the ultimate formula to remain independent as long as possible and stem the financial burden on society.
For some of us this might be a comforting idea but guess who is going to support the ever so fast growing aging population. Your guess is right; you and me, our kids and grandkids.
An unescapable chain reaction is created; as we become older, the age at which we will become eligible for pension will rise1 and is escorted by another problem; combating age discrimination.
It comes down to retaining 40 plussers in the organization and hiring the unemployed ones for long term positions (if possible until they reach the pension age).
What steps can and should be taken to keep the older generation included in the work force and change the attitude of the majority of companies who choose to employ young team players over experienced workers ages 40 and up?
A distinction can be made between “computerized” office jobs and “physical” professions such as plumbers, doctors, electricians and hair dressers, just to mention a few samples. The “older physical” professionals are naturally and instinctively easier accepted by society due to their experience accumulated over the years. Their “aged experience” which many customers are looking for brings with them a certain tranquility and security which can’t be taught, measured but adds great value.
“Computerized” office jobs are a different ballgame. Statistically proven, relative younger people are preferred above older individuals. Whether this is justified or not that is a different issue which I will discuss in a future blog.
So, what possibilities are there to keep 40 plussers at work so that they can make a respectful living?
- Employment generation – wisely and expansively planned employment programs funded by the government can spur growth in job openings by creating and changing labor activities which are done momentarily by machines
- Preserve work by keeping it “national”– keep the activities whenever possible within the country and “export” less work to other countries such as China where a worker will manufacture a t-shirt for US $0.10
- Shorten work days so that the amount of work done by one person is divided over two (who created the “rule” that we are expected to work 9-10 hours a day?)
- Lower salaries which will “afford” companies to employ additional workers
- Invest in professional retraining employees – place will be made for other and more skilled employees while saving workspace for the retrained ones
- Companies should pay into a pension for their employees – question is if employees should be given the option to “opt out” of the structure and decide for whatever reason to save or not
- 3% of the companies should employ ages 40 and up
These are just some suggestions, not answers to this major worldwide problem.
But if even one of them can give the push in the right direction, it can make a difference to many of us whose only wish is to be able to get up in the morning, get dressed for work and with dignity be able to make a living.
Is that too much to ask for?
1Claiming pension will most probably not become relevant before reaching late sixties and possibly even later, according to the DailyMail.