With 76 million Americans born between 1946 and 1965, the continuing retirement of workers born during the ‘baby boom’, is leading to a rise in aging workforce issues. During the first three months of 1957, the fertility rate stood at 122.9 births per 1000 women, reaching its’ lowest in 2015 at 60 births per 1000 women.
By 2029, over 20% of the US population will be over 65. Beginning to reach this age in 2011, it can be seen why aging workforce issues are becoming a growing problem in the construction industry. Many of these workers have carried out their skilled role for decades, but a lot of these jobs are now very unpopular with young workers. During 2015, one aging workforce issue, involved skilled carpenters and concrete workers being some of the most difficult roles to fill.
If employers are to reap the benefits of the work ethic and experience of older workers, they must design the workplace of the future to meet their needs.
A dislike, or just a lack of understanding of modern technology which now needs to be incorporated into any industry, is another aging workforce issue and reason so many workers are leaving. Apart from responsibilities they may have years of experience in, some of the other important reasons why these older workers are so important to retain, include:
- Younger workers demanding higher wages
- Turning down jobs as they insist on more money
- Rising house prices due to these requirements
- Difficulty finishing projects on-time when skilled workers can’t be found
Research has shown that older workers in the construction industry want to remain in their jobs, but although their skills, experience and commitment are valued, there is often a trade-off between that and physical fitness.
Apart from the aging workforce issue that involves lack of physical fitness to carry out jobs they might once have found easy, they may simply have avoided taking the time to learn how to use a certain form of technology but still be impressed with themselves for finally finding out how. These are important reasons why spending time with a younger trainee can be a benefit.
While a younger worker may be more skilled using modern technology, aging workers are often more patient, with better social skills when talking in person, taking the time to teach a new worker how to do their job correctly and safely. From their own skills and experience, they can act as a trustworthy mentor for many millennials now entering the industry.
Download the eBook covering aging workforce issues, to find out:
- Why aging workers are leaving their jobs at a growing rate
- Why aging workers are so valuable to retain
- How a multi-generational setting with young and senior workers can improve productivity