Older Workers to Capture 150 Million Jobs by 2031, Surpassing Millennials

A recent study conducted by Bain & Co. reveals that workers aged 55 and older are projected to secure a significant portion of the job market, surpassing the millennials. By 2031, older workers are expected to represent 25% of the workforce in the United States, resulting in a shift of approximately 150 million jobs globally to older workers. Currently, the 55+ age group already accounts for nearly a quarter of the U.S. workforce, while Generation Z workers aged 15 to 24 have dipped below 13%. This trend is especially prominent in Japan and Italy, which have aging populations.

Contrary to popular belief, the dominance of AI robots or millennials in the workforce seems to be overshadowed by the rising influence of older workers. Bain & Co. predicts that this trend will continue in most developed economies, even as baby boomers retire and millennials occupy a significant share of the working population.

While the increasing presence of older workers may present challenges for physically demanding occupations, it offers positive prospects for individuals in careers that allow for continued employment in later years. The report highlights that pay is the primary motivating factor for most workers, but priorities shift after the age of 60. At this stage, “interesting work” becomes the most important job attribute, followed by autonomy and flexibility. Root suggests that white-collar workers may have an advantage in working longer, particularly university graduates who prioritize flexibility over compensation after 60.

Recognizing the demographic shift, companies worldwide are starting to develop programs aimed at recruiting and retaining older workers. The report by Bain & Co. emphasizes the need for innovation in retraining programs for older workers, as such initiatives are currently lacking. While progress has been somewhat slow in the post-pandemic business environment, Root believes that once companies identify effective extension and reskilling programs, older workers, who are eager for growth and extension, will thrive in their careers.