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Employer Attitudes towards Older Workers: Survey Results

Author

Listed:
  • Alicia H. Munnell
  • Steven A. Sass

    () (Center for Retirement Research, Boston College)

  • Mauricio Soto

    (Center for Retirement Research, Boston College)

Abstract

Today men on average retire at 63 and women at 62, and they can expect to spend 20 years in retirement. But if Americans continue to retire as early as they do today, many will not have adequate income once they stop working. Social Security will provide less relative to pre-retirement earnings as the normal retirement age rises from 65 to 67 and those lucky enough to have a 401(k) plan are likely to find their balances inadequate. One solution to the retirement security challenge is for people to work longer. Working longer directly increases a person’s current income; it avoids the actuarial reduction in Social Security benefits; it allows people to contribute more to their 401(k) plans; it allows their assets more time to accumulate investment earnings; and it shortens the period over which people have to support themselves with their retirement assets. So it stands to reason that workers would choose to extend their careers. But will they find employment? Some evidence suggests that employers have not been especially fond of older workers. For example, older workers who lose a job have had a much harder time finding another. And many employers actually use sweetened early retirement incentives to get older workers to leave. On the other hand, today’s older workers are far better educated than older workers just a decade ago; they are more physically fit; and the shift from goods-producing to services-producing jobs has reduced the physical demands of work, which should enhance the employment prospects of older workers. To get a better understanding of the employment prospects of older workers, the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College (CRR) conducted a survey of 400 private sector employers. These employers were asked to evaluate the relative productivity and cost of white-collar and rank-and-file workers age 55 and older and whether, on balance, older employees or job candidates were more or less attractive than their younger counterparts.

Suggested Citation

  • Alicia H. Munnell & Steven A. Sass & Mauricio Soto, 2006. "Employer Attitudes towards Older Workers: Survey Results," Work Opportunity Briefs wob_3, Center for Retirement Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:crr:crrwob:wob_3
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    File URL: http://crr.bc.edu/wp-content/uploads/joomla/Briefs/wob_3.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Vegard Skirbekk, 2004. "Age and Individual Productivity: A Literature Survey," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 2(1), pages 133-154.
    2. Jeffrey M Wooldridge, 2010. "Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262232588, July.
    3. Ann Huff Stevens & Sewin Chan, 1999. "Employment and Retirement Following a Late-Career Job Loss," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 211-216, May.
    4. Alicia H. Munnell & Marric Buessing & Mauricio Soto & Steven A. Sass, 2006. "Will We Have To Work Forever?," Work Opportunity Briefs wob_4, Center for Retirement Research, revised Jul 2006.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel Baksa & Zsuzsa Munkacsi, 2016. "Aging, (Pension) Reforms and the Shadow Economy in Southern Europe," Bank of Lithuania Working Paper Series 32, Bank of Lithuania.
    2. Richard W. Johnson & Janette Kawachi, 2007. "Job Changes at Older Ages: Effects on Wages, Benefits, and Other Job Attributes," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2007-04, Center for Retirement Research, revised Feb 2007.
    3. Nicole Maestas & Julie Zissimopoulos, 2009. "How Longer Work Lives Ease the Crunch of Population Aging," Working Papers WR-728, RAND Corporation.
    4. Eric Schniter & Timothy Shields & John Dickhaut, 2012. "Ageism & Cooperation," Working Papers 12-26, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    5. Nicole Maestas & Julie Zissimopoulos, 2010. "How Longer Work Lives Ease the Crunch of Population Aging," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, pages 139-160.
    6. van Dalen, H.P. & Henkens, C.J.I.M. & Schippers, J., 2009. "Unraveling the age-productivity nexus : Confronting perceptions of employers and employees," Discussion Paper 2009-4, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    7. Malul, Miki, 2009. "Older workers' employment in dynamic technology changes," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 809-813, October.

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