An aging work force Featured

8:30am EDT November 26, 2002
As the population ages, the proportion of people ages 45 to 55 in the work force is increasing.

"It is clear that the average age in the work force is going up," says Stephen Mangum, professor of management and human resources and associate dean of the Ohio State University's Fisher College of Business.

The average age of employees is rising, although not as quickly as some had predicted, says Mangum. Even so, companies need to plan for and accommodate an older work force.

"There are more retirees that work," says Mangum, and employers need to offer them a flexible work schedule to meet their lifestyle needs. "Older workers have other things in their lives that they value. Employers need to think of job sharing, flex time and other options they may not currently be thinking about."

Employers must also consider additional training needs and benefits costs.

"There are more people in the older generation that are not familiar with computers and communications such as e-mails," says Mangum.

Also, older adults are more likely to use health insurance benefits, which may increase a company's premiums.

But while companies must prepare for an older work force, they shouldn't overlook younger workers who are entering the work force in equally great numbers.

"The 16 to 24 age group is also growing between now and 2025," Mangum says. "The younger age workers are looking for skill acquisition and increasing job responsibilities that will make them more attractive to the employer."

Offering policies and an environment that meet the needs of both age groups will ensure that your company attracts the best candidates. How to reach: The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, (614) 292-5028