Firms Want to Keep Older Workers, but Cite Challenges

Among the challenges cited by employers were increased health care benefits costs.

A new study from LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute found 92% of employers are taking specific action to help older workers stay on the job.

Two-thirds of employers in the study offer flexible hours, while 42% offer flexibility for where employees work, such as working from home or other locations. Other adjustments include job training/re-skilling and job sharing.

Why make these accommodations for older workers? Eight in 10 employers said their organizations lose experience, institutional knowledge and leadership when an older worker leaves. 

A 2012 analysis found the percentage of civilian noninstitutionalized Americans near or at retirement age (age 55 or older) has been rising steadily since 1993, when it stood at 29.4%. It reached 40.2% in 2010 and remained at that level in 2011.

These shifts in the labor force affect a company’s benefit plan design, LIMRA notes. Among the challenges cited by employers were increased health care benefits costs. Half said they plan to absorb the costs into the business, while four in 10 will pass on cost increases to employees. 

While employers need to have competitive benefits for all ages, nine in 10 are interested in plan design to manage retirement and retention of older workers. Seventy percent of employers also said they look to their plan provider for guidance about how to transition workers into retirement. Half said they would depend on a plan adviser or consultant for this advice.