Longevity economics: how aging employees can be useful to the business

According to UN analysts, by 2030 the number of inhabitants of the Earth over 60 years will be almost 1.5 billion, in another 20 years it will cross the mark of 2 billion. By 2050, one in three workers in developed countries are projected to be over 70 years old – just like the main character of the film “Trainee”. Now, when the Russian labor market is just beginning to experience consequences of demographic decline of the 90s, it’s time for business to undertake decisive measures and look at aging employees differently.

Undervalued by the market

According to Rosstat, the share of workers aged 20 to 29 years is has been declining steadily for the past 4 years. The economy of longevity is getting closer and closer – the main focus of this model is aimed at serving interests and needs of aging people. In 2016, the Russian government has already developed and approved an action strategy in the interests of older citizens, designed for 9 years. Within its framework, the state, among other things, stimulates employment and additional education for the elderly. But business still focuses mostly on young people and does not see pensioners as its employees.

The labor market for aging and elderly people in Russia at the moment is not formed. Working retirees are most often involved in low-paid and low-skilled positions such as watchman, guard, or seller. Only a very small number of specialists “in age” – like teachers, engineers, representatives of unique professions – have a respectable salary.

At 45, career can be started again

The main obstacle to the development of the “silver economy” in Russia is psychology. Our society still has a very strong stereotype that closer to the age of 50 it is no longer possible to make a career and you need to prepare for retirement.

However, it is rapidly losing its relevance – an increasing number of Russians of pre-retirement age begin to think about continuation of their careers. And if earlier it was difficult, now it is quite feasible – thanks to the development of digital technologies. Online training allows you to complete retraining, labor exchanges help to find a good vacancy, not to forget legalization of “remote” work from home. It’s just question when business reacts to this trend.

How aged employees are useful to business

First of all, this is a valuable personnel resource. Today the companies do not consider seriously keeping their “own” pensioners in the staff, as their adaptation requires investments in retraining, and additional training. But if you start a comprehensive work now, you should invest in development of employees, then with age they will not lose their effectiveness.

And the employer will not have to redraw processes and redistribute the load while searching for a new specialist.

In addition, pensioners are a kind of ambassador of the company. They know it from the inside, sharing the corporate culture. This increases their value – such employees will work easily and stably.

To adapt to the trend, it is recommended that the business run well-being programs – so that workers are healthy, full of energy and set up to continue their careers in the company. According to research, if after 50 years, an employee trains cognitive abilities as part of corporate learning, then he will not have problems with memory, attention, and personal efficiency. Secondly, it is worth to introduce the practice of retraining and additional education within the company. A special focus is needed on the development of digital skills by older people.

Of course, it will take more than one year to develop and implement such projects. But already now you can define the main vector. For example, which target positions you transfer pensioners to. The main thing is to calculate the load correctly. Let’s say they can be mentors for beginning employees or move to a new area as part of a gradual retraining.

Keeping age-related employees in the team will help mitigate the risk of personnel shortage, increasing its cognitive diversity that will have a good impact on efficiency and results. This means that it will affect positively on business as a whole.

By Svetlana Smolnikova, founder of topcareer, an online school for HR specialists

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