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Older people fill more than 150 million jobs globally

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A whopping 150 million jobs will pass to workers over 55 by 2030, according to a new global study from Bain & Company.

Ivanko_Brenjakovic | istock | Getty Images

A whopping 150 million jobs will pass to workers over 55 by 2030, according to A new global study from Bain & Company.

In the Group of Seven countries, Bain expects older and more experienced workers to make up more than a quarter of the workforce by 2031.

“This is a massive turnaround,” Andrew Schwedel, a partner at Bain & Company, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” Tuesday.

“Japan is already at the forefront of this with nearly 40% of the workforce over the age of 55. Europe and the US are not far behind, [with] anywhere from 25 to 30%.”

But an aging workforce isn’t unique to developed markets—for example, China’s elderly population (65 and older) will double by 2050, according to the study.

“Fewer young people are joining the workforce, in part because of lower fertility rates, and in part because of longer education,” Payne added.

“According to OECD data, the long-term trend toward early retirement is slowly turning in the opposite direction.”

This can also be seen in the recent ‘non-retirement’ trend – where retirees return to the workforce – driven by a hot job market, rising inflation and reduced health risks associated with Covid.

The surge in retirements during the early months of the pandemic now looks like a “super Sabbath,” Payne said.

In recent years, countries around the world have been increasing the retirement age — though not without opposition.

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In France for example, raising the retirement age to 64 from 62 sparked protests earlier this year.

“One thing I keep hearing when I talk to companies is that they don’t have the talent they want in the amount that they want,” Schwedel added.

This is why he advised companies not to wait for policies to be implemented in countries, but to “implement targeted interventions”.

according to Global Employer Survey 2020, Only about 4% of companies have committed to programs that help integrate older workers or support a multigenerational workforce.

“Companies that invest in recruiting, retaining, reskilling, and respecting the strengths of this group will set themselves up for success as the demographics of the workforce continue to change,” Schwedel added in a press release.

The key to this is understanding what motivates older workers – Bain’s survey of 40,000 workers in 19 countries found that priorities evolve with age.

The study found that the average worker under the age of 60 is mainly driven by good compensation. However, older people focus more on doing “interesting work” in a job where they are independent and flexible.

“Many focus on perfecting their craft, while others feel rewarded by seeing their actions make a positive social impact,” the report said.

“Motivations are different for each individual and change throughout their career,” Schwedel added.

“This speaks to some of the different things companies need to do if they’re trying to attract younger workers versus older workers.”

It’s also critical, Schwedel said, that companies design workplace experiences that tap into the motivations of older workers.

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This can be done by providing them with the skills needed in the next 10 years, according to Payne. For example, 22% of respondents between the ages of 55 and 64 said they need more technical skills.

“For older workers to benefit from training programs, companies need to design programs that appeal to their pursuit of enjoyable work and encourage supervisors to incentivize participation across all age groups,” the press release added.

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