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Keeping older workers on the job

Jeremy Hobson Apr 30, 2008
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Scott Jagow: Today, the Senate holds a hearing on older workers. Some say companies aren’t doing a very good job of hiring and retaining older people, and the whole economy is suffering because of it. Jeremy Hobson reports.


Jeremy Hobson: Steven Sass with the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College says many retiring workers would prefer to stay on the job. And the private sector would benefit from keeping them there.

Steven Sass: There’s a real opportunity here. There’s a supply of labor that we can access, and companies that figure out how they can use these workers effectively are at a competitive advantage.

The trouble for employers is that older workers can be expensive and ill-trained for the modern demands of their jobs. Eric Toder at the Urban Institute says things like phased retirement and flexible work schedules won’t solve the problem entirely. Older workers may have to give up some benefits to remain competitive.

Eric Toder: Pension systems and health benefits and so forth — we’re going to have to make various fiscal adjustments.

Today’s hearing will focus on the nation’s largest employer, the federal government. Over the next five years, a third of the full-time federal workforce will reach retirement age.

In Washington, I’m Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

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