Times They Have A-Changed For Older Workers


~by Erik White

The workforce has undergone significant transformation since the start of the century.  Millennials are entering the workforce and baby boomers are preparing for their exit.  Perhaps the most prominent change is the advancement of technology and its role in the workplace.  Job duties have changed and new types of jobs have been created to incorporate the technology upgrades.

Defining A Generation
Another important change is the natural aging of the workforce.  The baby boom generation – those born between 1946 and 1964 – make up the largest generation in population.  They are also approaching the age of retirement.  This demographic trend is reflected in the growth of the number of jobs held by older workers.

The Quarterly Workforce Indicators data program, and the variable of Full Quarter Employment (Stable), measures the number of jobs that are held on both the first and last day of the quarter with the same employer.

With this tool, we can determine the age of people who held these jobs. Since 2005, there has been an increase of about 175,000 jobs held by workers aged 55 years or older in Minnesota.  This age cohort made up about 16% of the total jobs held in 2005, but now holds 22.3% of all jobs (See Table 1).

Boomer Benefits
This group of workers is often seen as valuable to the workplace because they bring values of loyalty, reliability, productivity, as well as a wealth of experience.  Not to mention that you typically don’t nAge of Workers-DEED Table 1eed to tell them to put away their phones or that their appearance needs to be more professional.

However, the advancement of technology in the workplace can be a barrier for older workers seeking employment.  Older adults have increasingly embraced technology in their everyday life, but finding out what jobs are available can be a burden as newspaper classifieds are no longer the main source for employment opportunities.

Most job banks are online and many applications are now done on a computer.  It also might take much longer to hear back from the employer during the hiring process than in the past.

Job Search Resources
The best resource for those seeking employment, especially those who are older, is your local WorkForce Center.  Job seekers will find friendly and helpful staff who can offer advice and guidance with an introduction to MinnesotaWorks, Minnesota’s online job bank.  Training on basic computer skills, interviewing and resume reviews can also be found here.

The WorkForce Center is the one-stop shop in overcoming employment challenges, for both young and old!

Erik White is the Northeast Regional Analyst for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

Featured image courtesy of Sascha Kohlmann under Creative Commons 2.0.

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