Article Summary – Is 45 the New Old Age in the Workplace?

Source: Is 45 the new old age in the workplace?
Author: Anne Miller, Ozy


At what age does one expect to retire? Are companies beginning to see more seasoned and experienced workers differently as they age? Where are the older and mature careers turning in the future?

With the economy changing drastically in recent decades, the average career worker has been forced into several career changes and skills adjustments out of necessity.  Stable and long-term careers –ones in which the employee stays with the company for the entire career–are relatively few and far between in the current economy.

So at what age are companies overlooking experienced workers and hiring younger? In the article
Is 45 the new old age in the workplace?” author Anne Miller suggests that the age at which companies may let workers go is younger than many might initially consider. It may be surprising to some to find that it could be mid-forties.

Why is this trend being studied?  The author cites research that claims workers who are older and unemployed tend to remain unemployed for a longer duration than those who are younger. Furthermore, Miller states several studies that have cited discrimination and lack of respect in general for these older, but more experienced and seasoned career workers.  Is there a correlation that career workers over forty-four years old were unemployed longer on average than younger workers? The author seems to think there is, stating an average of 4.5 weeks longer that older workers were out of work.

Several reasons may contribute to this theory. Research shows it is an overall mentality and perspective of general populations that may discriminate against an older population, citing discrimination from poor service while being waited on at a restaurant to public discourtesy.

However, corporate careers are not the only place where workers are being affected.  The discrimination theory also ranges to government jobs, especially in Australia and the U.K., which are increasing the age for pensions, causing aging workers who cannot find strong replacement jobs now the need to wait longer for retirement pensions.

There is one thread of silver lining which states that these experienced and aging workers are turning from corporate jobs to entrepreneurship, starting their own businesses in close to the same percentages as compared with the prime-age workers.