The growing population of seniors creates job opportunities
Average lifespan’s are growing. A child born in 1910 expected to live 49 years , one born in 1960 to 67 years, and the 2018 baby will live an average 78 years (US CDC). The population aged 65+ in the USA in 2017 was 51 million and expected to grow to 90 million in 2060 (8)
On the other hand, the average retirement age which was 65 years in 1960 (1) fell to about 60 years in 2017 (2)
The combination of the increasing lifespan and falling retirement age has created a large and growing population of post retiree seniors. Recognizing that lifespans are going to be longer, these seniors are looking to live the post retirement years better, enhancing their quality of life, and also looking to stay longer in the workforce.
This trend will drive job growth in professions which enable better health, mobility & professional opportunities for this large and growing demographic group.
Phase 1 – Looking back - Surprise & sustenance
The first lot of retirees who experienced this significant increase in the post retirement lifespan would have expected that, like their older peers and parents, they would retire, get a few years for leisure, wrap up their affairs, and move on.
The increase in the post retirement years would have not only taken them by surprise, but very likely also unprepared.
Not knowing how long this period would last, the focus would be on ensuring good health and the ability to be independent and active through those years while conserving their resources to last them through the period.
Their demands were largely maintenance led, i.e. good healthcare, nutrition and assistance which fostered growth in industries and professions catering to these.
1. Physicians (The number of physicians in the USA grew at its fastest rate between 1960 and 1980)
2. Medical facilities
3. Pharma companies
4. Elderly care facilities
Not coincidently, Medicare was introduced in 1965 to provide health insurance assistance and better access to healthcare to those of age 65 or older.
Phase 2 – Recent past - Exploration
Seeing the longevity of their predecessors, the next group of retirees recognized that they would live longer, have more years in retirement, and many of them in good health
Being better prepared, the focus shifted from sustenance to living these years with a good quality of life and growing their resources to allow the better quality of life. In turn this propelled growth in
1. Organized travel, tours, and leisure activities for seniors
2. Active senior living facilities (55+) with rich amenities
3. Senior housing and communities in better weather locations (Florida, Arizona, Nevada)
And to facilitate the good health and quality of life
1. Growth in healthcare, focused on medication & implantable devices to enable quality of life & mobility
2. In home healthcare & assistance to supplement the shrinking population of family caregivers
3. Financial planning (planners) for the extended years
Phase 3 – Now and the near future - Commitment
The longer and very likely healthier lifespans are now recognized and accepted by those getting to their early 60’s.
In addition to leisure and recreation activities, an increasing number of seniors are, and will opt to continue in the workforce, wanting to be more active, productive, and in better financial shape.
Workforce shortages in the developing world will also contribute to the trend of retaining & rehiring older workers.
In Japan, the number of working seniors has grown 27% between 2010 and 2015 (4). In 2017 it exceeded 8 million or 12.3% of the workforce, growing almost 3 fold from just over 3 million in 1992 (5) The retirement age for both men and women has also started to creep up from 60 to 62 years in the last 8 years (3). A similar trend is seen in the USA, with over 9 million seniors 65 and older working part or full time in 2018 (18.8%) up from 4 million in 2000 (12.8%) (6)
To be able to continue to participate in jobs & professions, the seniors will need to be mentally & physical competent and also mobile.Which will in turn will lead to growth in professions which will enable this.
1. Yoga/gym/physical conditioning centers for seniors
2. Healthcare to enhance mobility – implantable devices & joints
3. Skill development & retraining for seniors
4. Job placement agencies tailored to a senior workforce
5. Assisted transportation – public transportation and assisted driving vehicles
6. Assistance in cooking/cleaning, & home delivery of food / supplies for working seniors
Expected lifespan’s in the USA and the rest of the world have increased every decade in the last century. Less than half of those born in 1931 were expected to reach an age of 80, but over 75% of those born in 1971 will. The population of 65 years and older in the USA is expected to grow from 51 million in 2017 to 90 million in 2060.
Having observed their predecessors living longer and healthier into the senior years, this large, growing senior population will aim to be more active – professionally, physically, and mentally.
Those of us entering or already in the workforce will find growing opportunities in professions which facilitate the health, mobility, & professional engagement for seniors. These will range from retraining, job placement, physical conditioning, assisted driving & housekeeping, medical research & healthcare.
This blog is also posted on LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/growing-population-seniors-creates-job-opportunities-sanjay-gupta/?published=t
1. Gendell and Siegel - Journal uf Gerontology: SOCIAL SCIENCES 1996
9. Kathleen Cagney of the University of Chicago and Erin York Cornwell of Cornell University