Category Archives: Aging at Work

Report Indicates Older Workers Do Not Crowd Out Younger Workers

With the present recession, many older workers have chosen to delay retirement in order to recover retirement savings lost in the downturn or cover out of pocket medical costs.  A current meme suggests that older employees are displacing younger ones or are depriving younger prospective workers of jobs.  A recent Issue Brief of the Pew Charitable Trust, entitled “When Baby Boomers Delay Retirement, Do Younger Workers Suffer?“, refutes that notion.  The document reports on the analysis of Current Population Survey data from 1977 to 2011, and states in the Conclusion, “the evidence suggests that greater employment of older persons leads to better outcomes for the young—reduced unemployment, increased employment, and a higher wage.  The patterns are consistent for both men and women and for groups with different levels of education. And perhaps most notably, the effects of Boomer employment on other segments of the labor market during the Great Recession do not differ from those during typical business cycles.”

We need to carefully examine assertions that contribute to competition and divisiveness among the generations.  Buying into ideas that pit one end of the lifespan against another ignores our interdependence, and could end up depriving the young of the support and experience of our elders, and the old of the joy of contributing to the prosperity of the young.    Sue Sweeney, Chair, Gerontology Department, Madonna University