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50+@Work, part 2

Three scenarios for 2020

A core part of our focus on “50+@Work,” is a set of 2020 scenarios that explore a range of possible ways employers may be handling older workers in the near-term future. Each is highly plausible, and our 2020 situation may, in fact, be a blend of the three, depending on the employer, the sector, and other factors. We use these scenarios to help groups explore their choices, and the potential human capital marketplace they will face in a decade or so.

The 2020 scenarios in brief:

Business as usual – Employers continue to push out older workers, on purpose, or inadvertently. They lose assets and often face higher costs in replacing older workers with younger ones.

War for talent – Employers battle for a high-skilled subset of older workers, bidding up their incomes, though other older workers struggle to stay employed in meaningful work.

Sagacious human capital – Many if not most employers recognize the value of older talent, the skills, experience, and wisdom of workers in their 50s, 60s, and beyond.

A key point of these scenarios is to focus employer thinking on the impacts and costs of inaction. There are opportunities to improve approaches to human capital in general, and older workers in particular. What we have now in a lot of organizations is inefficient and unnecessarily costly. 

We work with organizations to explore the impacts of the scenarios and employer strategic options as they look for greater success with an aging workforce. At the simplest level, anyone can pull a small team together, and spend time discussing these three ideas about the future, and what they mean. Doing that will get a vital conversation going, exploring questions including:

  • Do we fit any of these three now?
  • Which is more likely in our sector?
  • Which do we prefer?
  • What advantages and strengths do we bring to this question?
  • Are we doing what we should for the best business outcomes?
  • What are our strategic options?

In part 1, we explained our focus on 50+@Work and the joint initiatives of Leading Futurists LLC and Green Consulting Group LLC.

In part 3, we suggest more things employers can do, with our without our help, to confront the topic, and find ways to greater success with the aging workforce.

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