When people in their fifties and older leave their jobs, most do so involuntarily. If your financial situation means you need to maintain your full-time job until you are ready to retire, develop a Plan B. Most older workers stop working against their will.
Full-time, long-term employment is not as stable as it once was. A generation or two ago, a person could go straight from high school to a job. If he worked hard, he could count on that job being there as long as he wanted it. He could also expect a pension from the company. However, those are also now very rare. During the last three decades, nearly 30 percent of people with long-term, full-time jobs experienced layoffs at least one time, and many got laid off multiple times.
Some employers try to force out older workers, by making their working conditions unpleasant. The supervisor cuts the older employee’s pay or hours, hoping she will look for a job somewhere else. Fifteen percent of older employees who stopped working, blame it on deteriorating conditions like these.
Another 13 percent of older workers left their jobs unexpectedly, and researchers suspect they were forced out of their jobs. The number of people who attribute their leaving the workforce to being forced or partially forced into retirement has skyrocketed. Fifty-five percent of employees over the age of 50 fell into this category in 2015, which is a sharp increase from 33 percent of older workers in 1998.
Why Employers Force Out Older Workers
A person who has been on the job for 30 years, will likely command wages higher than a young person who is fresh out of school. A manager might want to cut costs by hiring entry-level people, but doing so overlooks the value of the older worker.
Older employees have a great deal of experience with the work they do, but they bring much more than that to the table. These workers have more practice dealing with difficult people and finding solutions to problems.
While an older employee might not have as much energy as a much younger candidate, the older worker’s work ethic, loyalty and integrity can cause more output than a younger person will deliver. The older employee’s maturity can make for fewer workplace conflicts and problems than one staffed with entry-level employees. Older workers are also reliable. They are far less likely to stay out partying on a work night and call in sick the next day or show up, but be unproductive.
Crunching the Numbers
Out of all workers age 50 or over in full-time, long-term jobs, 56 percent of them lose their jobs involuntarily. The remaining 44 percent break down like this:
- 19 percent retire because they want to,
- Nine percent stop working due to caregiving, their health, or some other personal reason, and
- Only 16 percent continue working if they want to.
Talk to an elder law attorney near you, because your state’s regulations can differ from the general law of this article.
AARP. “New Study Finds Many Older Workers Forced Out of Jobs.” (accessed January 16, 2018) https://www.aarp.org/work/working-at-50-plus/info-2018/forced-retirement.html