Will today’s kids retire at 100?

One outspoken futurologist says the employment landscape will change dramatically – can HR keep up?

Will today’s kids retire at 100?
Forty jobs in one lifetime and a retirement age of 100 – is this really the employment landscape that future HR professionals can look forward to? If one outspoken advisor is to be believed, yes.

100 years of servitude 

Robin Talwar, CEO of strategy planning organisation Fast Future, insists the future generation will have a “portfolio career” thanks to medical advances prolonging employee health and robotic workers increasingly taking on manual roles.

“You might be driving Uber part of the day, renting out your spare bedroom on Airbnb a little bit, renting out space in your closet as storage for Amazon, doing delivery for Amazon or housing the drone that does delivery for Amazon,” he said at a conference in St Andrews earlier this week.

“There are all these sort of new sharing economy models coming through,” he added. “We need to start thinking about these things; we need to start thinking about the kinds of skills we’ll need to help people stay employable.”

Talwar also claimed people could expect to work “up to the age of 100” and went on to add that they “might well have 40 jobs in that period in 10 different careers”.

The ever-aging workforce 

While Talwar’s claims might sound outlandish, the aging workforce is a real and constant worry for many HR professionals.

Leadership expert Nigel Dessau told HRD that mentoring programs are a great way to help employees adjust to new roles or organisations – but shouldn’t just be for youngsters, with older worker benefiting too.

“I do believe that mentoring is essential for anyone who wants to succeed in the 21st Century,” he said. “Our world is too fast and too complex for any one person to know how to do it all.”
Dessau also suggested assigning multiple mentors, from all ages and walks-of-life.

When it comes to training older employees, or keeping them motivated, Dessau said HR professionals shouldn’t make the mistake of seeing them as outsiders or underdogs.

“Older workers are like all workers,” he said. “To get the best out of them, you need to identity what they are good at and utilise those skills to make the team more effective.”

Health problems

Of course keeping older employees productive in the workplace isn’t the only worry as the population ages – healthcare becomes a very real problem too.

Karen Henderson, CEO of the Long Term Health Care Planning Network, says employers should seriously start considering building long-term care into their employee benefit packages – for both workers and their families.

“An organisation that offers support in this area will attract employees because workers know that they’re going to bump into this problem,” she told HRD.

“They are going to create wonderful public relations and they are going to be thought of as an organisation that really cares for its employees and their families,” she added.
Related stories:
Dealing with Singapore’s ageing workforce
Re-employment age to be raised
Tripartite support for HRDs in an ageing workforce

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