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Inicio  /  Blog  /  Silver Economy & Senior Talent

Silver Economy & Senior Talent

 

by Federico Muttoni | Advice Director

Reading time: 4'

The Silver Economy is that part of the global economy linked to the demographic change brought about by the aging of the population, whose focus is on the needs and demands of older adults. Senior talent comprises highly educated professionals who are eager to remain active for 20 or 30 years longer than what, in "olden times", would correspond to a retirement age.

The senior population has the capacity to contribute to the labor market and the economy. The aging process of people can be approached from two models, one of "social burden or weight" and the other of "contribution to society". In these lines we are going to focus on the contribution of senior talent. Not only on the new consumption and service needs of this group of people, but in particular on the availability of diverse human resources with great potential for development. The senior talent employed in our labor market can remain employed for more years, and the social security reform will favor this trend.

People over 50 face prejudices when they seek to re-enter the labor market. It is often thought that motivation is lost with age, and youth is associated with creativity and learning. It is estimated that 80% of published job opportunities exclude, even if they do not say so, those over 50 years of age. Science, progress and well-being have given us the gift of time; more time to live with our elders and more time to work with them, more time for listening and sharing. Intergenerational commitments are essential to build a fair and inclusive economic and social model.

Perception of employability and cultural change. It is necessary to promote campaigns and communicate in order to improve the perception of the employability of this important group. Because of their value, experience and training, and what they can contribute to the productive fabric of our country. However, changing the corporate culture takes time, even in companies with a clear vision and strategy and solid leadership. It takes time and concrete, sustained actions to dispel myths about the elderly in the collective conscience. 

Promoting the employment of older workers should not only be seen as a solution to improve the sustainability of the pension system, which it is, but also as an opportunity to change our corporate culture and become aware of the risk of society wasting this experience and knowledge. Embracing diversity in the workplace is a long road that companies must travel, regardless of the country in which they operate. The process of onboarding, retaining and adapting companies to senior workers is part of that journey.

There are still many who "don't see" senior workers as part of the equation and are unable to take advantage of the "dividend" of retaining, training and hiring older workers. The silver economy is here to stay. Companies that are unable to adapt to societal changes, including increased generational diversity, risk being left behind by stagnating in outdated ways of doing things.

The reflection for senior workers themselves is that, despite the attractiveness of a future without work, the reality indicates that one of the best ways to grow old in good health is to continue to be useful, working*. Likewise, with demographic change and longevity, it seems unfeasible to leave the labor market when there are more than 30 years of life expectancy ahead, based on the sustainability of the system. Extending the working life of seniors does not harm the younger ones; there is evidence that countries with greater participation of older workers in the labor market do not harm, but rather increase the employment opportunities of the younger ones. Having more seniors working is a model of higher income for the welfare state and the economy in general.

Companies are starting to think about changes. Firstly, how to deepen occupational health and safety, both in terms of health care and prevention, to ensure the physical and psychological well-being of senior professionals, and to reach the 55-70 age bracket in an optimal state of health that does not harm the worker's productivity. Secondly, generating changes in the organization and work environment, with initiatives implemented to adapt the physical conditions of the jobs to the profiles of the professionals, as well as alternatives for the development of functions in accordance with the needs of people according to their life cycle. Third, more professional development, training aimed at achieving the competitive growth of people, avoiding the obsolescence of the knowledge of the elderly. Fourthly, granting benefits for age, with recognition or advantages for the senior collective, such as shorter working hours or special prizes for permanence, adjusted to each case and the possibilities of each company. And finally, although there are other measures, not encouraging early retirements and early retirement, and promoting active (partial) retirement, so that work and pension are compatible.

The paradox, Seniors are the future, which is already available. Uruguay's senior population is growing at a faster rate than the population of other age groups. We will see more seniors in companies. The aging of the Uruguayan population will have an automatic equivalence in the presence, increasingly important in its amount, of senior talent in our companies.
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