How can Companies Prepare for an Aging Workforce?

During the ‘baby boom’, lasting from the early 1940s to early 1960s, the first three months of 1957, hold the highest fertility rate on record at 122.9 births per 1000 women. This rate reached its’ lowest in 2015 at 60 births per 1000 women. Workers born during the baby boom are now reaching the age of retirement. As life expectancy continues to grow, by 2050, the global population is estimated to have grown by 32%, with a constantly aging workforce.  

While members of this aging workforce may be more skilled in a job they have carried out for decades, it may be coming up to a time when they are unable to carry out this job as efficiently as they once could. A campaign was set up in 2016, stating ‘the young workers of today are the older workers of tomorrow,’ hoping to prevent this from happening in the future.

One-quarter of workers who were surveyed in the EU, revealed that they would find their job too physically challenging to carry out past the age of 60. In the construction industry, this could have a lot to do with the number of years that this aging workforce has spent, carrying out physically demanding activities that could lead to medical problems such as musculoskeletal disorder.

Companies have recently started to only let young workers carry out certain physically demanding jobs. For example, the Netherlandic painting company ‘Van der Geest Schilderspecialisten’ began their ‘Win-Win’ project, which has allowed its aging workforce to remain in the industry for longer periods of time. Physically demanding actions such as working from heights and moving heavy objects are now only performed by younger workers. This could prevent certain medical problems from occurring allowing the aging workforce to remain in the industry for a longer amount of time.

Less physical labor has resulted in the aging workforce now taking less time off for sick days. Employers have also spent more time finding the best way to allow them to slowly return to work, perhaps beginning without any or only a small amount of physical labor.

To connect better with aging workers and all other workers on-site, hopefully reducing the risk of workplace hazards, perhaps in a more relaxed atmosphere, some ideas mentioned in this ebook are:

  • Common meetings with employees to discuss any safety issues.
  • Setting up friendly ‘Spot the hazards’ competitions among workers
  • Incorporating the theme ‘Healthy Workplaces for all Ages’ into a local newsletter

Download the ebook to learn more about:

  • Why the aging workforce continues to grow
  • How the aging workforce can adapt to their work based on health issues
  • The best ways to connect with employees and discuss workplace hazards

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