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A 'silver tsunami' of older workers is growing larger

Posted at 3:27 PM, Jun 12, 2019

Bernard Johnson is well past retirement age, but he has a sales job in Washington D.C. where he works about 35 hours per week.

“It allows me a lot of flexibility. I'm my own boss, I work strictly on a commission basis, which I control my own income,” he said.

Johnson is part of the so-called “silver tsunami” in which more seniors are staying in the workforce longer, especially in large cities.

“I enjoy working, and it also enhances my lifestyle,” Johnson said.

Between 2014-2024, the government estimates the number of workers ages 65 to 74 will jump 55 percent, and those 75 and older will jump 85 percent.

Many companies don’t want to lose the experience the older workers bring, says Nora Super with The Milken Institute.

“When they walk out of the door, they tend to take many, many years of experience that is hard to replace right away,” Super says.

More than 100 employers have signed AARP’s pledge to promote equal opportunity for all workers, regardless of age, and more of those companies are starting to offer incentives and more flexibility to get older workers to stay.

“Because of their experience and what they have to offer, especially in mentoring and managing teams, companies are willing to make that exchange and say you don't have to work as much or as often or come into the office,” Super said.