Global companies of the future will likely look very different from those of today for two reasons. First, as a consequence of 20th-century gains in longevity, advances in healthy aging, and increasingly flexible working environments, many more people will be willing and able to work into their 60s, 70s, and 80s. Second, declining birth rates will lead to a dramatic shiftin the proportion of “old” to “young” in societies around the world. The retention, recruitment, and full participation of older workers may well become a necessity for companies accustomed to attracting most new hires in their 20s and 30s and focusing development on the first part of an employee’s career.
These trends are universal, impacting businesses in both the developed and developing world. They create market opportunities to meet product and service needs of the significant and growing over-60 demographic. They will change the dynamics of workplace engagement and increase opportunities for intergenerational collaboration and mentoring of younger workers by older workers and vice-versa. And they will amplify the need for better work/life balance as people live and work longer in the 21st century.
We, as leaders of global industry, recognize the promise and opportunity of workplaces aligned with 21st-century demographic realities. We believe that our companies, as well as the communities in which we operate, stand to benefit from creating “age-diverse workplaces” with tangible, measurable gains in terms of productivity, competitiveness, and worker satisfaction.