WIP Episode 310 Catherine Collinson

‘Ageism should be something in the past, not in the present. It’s time to get over it.’

A conversation with Catherine Collinson, president and CEO, Transamerica Institute

In this episode of the Work in Progress podcast, I am joined by Catherine Collinson, president and CEO of the nonprofit research foundation Transamerica Institute, to discuss the crucial role older workers can play in filling in-demand roles across the economy and how ageism may be standing in the way of tapping into that talent pool.

“Ageism should be something in the past, not in the present. It’s time to get over it,” says Collinson, especially as employers express an inability to “attract and retain talent, as they’re looking to grow their businesses. It is negatively impacting their ability to conduct business.”

A new report from Transamerica Institute and its Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies released this morning – Workplace Transformations: Employer Business Practices and Benefit Offerings – says employers are feeling the impact of a prolonged labor crunch. Thirty-seven percent (37%) say it is negatively impacting them. For larger employers, the number is much higher. It goes to six, even seven, in 10.

There are four – some even say five – generations of workers in the labor force now. Midcareer and older workers are making up a bigger share each year.

Since 1987, the share of workers aged 65 or older has grown from a little more than one in ten (11%) to almost one in five (19%). Currently, about 30% of the U.S. labor forces is over the age of 55.

While these workers want or need to continue working, they are often overlooked when it comes to opportunities to “skill up” to do the jobs that employers say they having trouble filling, explains Collinson.

“Our survey found almost nine in 10 employers feel that they are age-friendly and provide opportunities, resources, and training for workers of all ages to be successful. But when we looked a little bit further, we found not so much, especially as it relates to attracting and retaining talent.

“Very few said they gave a great deal of consideration to age 50+ job applicants. Even some of the things that we saw in terms of professional development opportunities – which, by the way, they could be doing a lot more for workers of all ages – they just seem to be not yet tuned into that opportunity.

“Employers on one hand are contending with labor crunches, and yet they’re missing out on this talent pool that has expertise, experience, wisdom, that wants to work. Why are they not paying closer attention? That’s a rhetorical question, but it also leads to that we’ve got to retire ageism.”

Collinson and I go on to discuss ways in which employers can attract workers of all ages and the benefits of a multigenerational workforce. We also discuss the impact of employers using artificial intelligence to “augment their human workforce.” In Collinson’s words, “Robotics and artificial intelligence may be revolutionizing the business world, but human workers are still critically needed.”

You can listen to the podcast here, or download and listen wherever you get your podcasts. You can also find it our Work in Progress YouTube channel.

Episode 310: Catherine Collinson, president and CEO, Transamerica Institute
Host & Executive Producer: Ramona Schindelheim, Editor-in-Chief, WorkingNation
Producer: Larry Buhl
Theme Music: Composed by Lee Rosevere and licensed under CC by 4
Transcript: Download the transcript for this episode here
Work in Progress Podcast: Catch up on previous episodes here

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