Cornell Study Sheds Light on Aging Workforce Concerns

With a workforce that continues to age though delayed retirements based on financial need and a desire to stay productive longer, increased numbers of workers with disabilities is a reality that U.S. employers will have to account for; yet, it seems that it is an issue not being adequately addressed.

In fact, a recent study suggests that employment discrimination charges data from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is cause to believe that employers cannot maintain aging employees with most of the cited impairments on the charges being characteristic of disabilities common to advancing age.

But if the projected estimate of one in four workers being over the age of 55 by 2020 is accurate, the number of age-related disabilities is going to become a pressing issue that employers cannot afford to ignore.

This was the tack taken in the findings of the collaborative study by the Disability Management Employer Coalition and Cornell University’s Employment and Disability Institute, whose introduction states: “Without adequate organizational preparation for managing age-related disability issues, organizations may struggle to meet disability management goals and contain costs.”

The joint study, the “State of the Field: Absence and Disability Management Practices for an Aging Workforce”  examines the issue of an aging workforce, but approaches it from the viewpoint of disability management professionals and polled over 500 employers and 250 disability management service suppliers.

With “the goal of absence and disability management programming being to limit absence, control costs, and retain workers to maintain a productive workforce” (Geisen, 2011), it was interesting to note that only 36 percent of those employers polled took an aging workforce into consideration when developing the programming.

KRA Corporation recently wrote about the concerns of a maturing workforce, examining the importance of increased health care the need to update Federal government strategies and policies to accommodate an aging employee sector.

Through development efforts on behalf of our jobseeker- and employer-clients, KRA will continue to identify, help find training, and place any candidate that is capable and willing to perform the job regardless of disability or limiting factor. KRA Corporation remains wholly committed to our own corporate objectives of Developing Workers and Strengthening Communities.

It is why KRA welcomes this study, and indeed any study, that examines key areas of workforce development and illuminates burgeoning issues. KRA Corporation trusts that this new study will provide some guidance for those employers and suppliers who may have yet to examine their own policies and it become the impetus for them to more closely scrutinize their own policies and programming.