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Innovation

Yes, Virginia, we are a nation of aging workaholics

Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor on

I was raised to be a workaholic. There, I've said it. Catharsis.

Then again, LOTS of the people that I know and hang out with (can workaholics hang out?) are wired this way, too. Even though I love a good therapeutic session with my Kindle, doing NOTHING ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, I can't imagine not working. Retired? Someone will have to pry the keyboard from my fingers at some point, I suppose. I was just not raised to relax. Plus, I kind of like being able to buy new books and clothing on my terms, not on the terms of my retirement account. I like financial security, thank you very much, and what I see in the future of my finances makes me a little nervous.

I declare this because I am far from alone. There was a survey released over the Labor Day weekend revealing that the U.S. workforce is aging. For one thing, the percentage of working Americans who are 65 or older is expected to rise to to 16 percent this year, compared with 12 percent in 1999. What's more approximately 47 percent of Baby Boomers (the media age of Boomers is 54) see themselves as mid-career.

Here's a blog from the Harvard Business Review with an analysis of the stats. The study is by the Center for Work-Life Policy, and it's called "Bookend Generations: Leveraging Talent and Finding Common Ground.""

You can read whatever you like into the results, but it's another indicator that technology and the reshaping of the global economy are changing who works and why. The benefits you provide to your workforce will change, accordingly, which means you need to think about different ways to incent people who have decided to stick around longer on your company's behalf. The other thing you have to think about more is bridging the divide, ensuring that collaboration between your maturing staff and those just entering the workforce doesn't go awry. Text vs. telephone anyone? See what I mean, there's a lot of potential for communications gaps, literally and figuratively.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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