Attracting Older Workers Could Depend on Non-Monetary Perks

September 30, 2008 ( - A key question of whether employers will still be able to attract older workers in an environment when hordes of Baby Boomers are expected to retire may depend on the employers' ability to offer a less stressful environment.

That is a key conclusion of a new research paper, “The Decline of Career Employment,” from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College (CRR).

Researchers Alicia H. Munnell and Steven A. Sass said late-career job changes frequently result in reductions in wages and benefits across the demographic and economic range of older workers.

class=”Pa1″> “The decline in career employment means that the wages and benefits earned by older workers – the primary economic rewards from contin­ued employment – are significantly less than they would have been had most workers remained with their age-50 employer,” Munnell and Sass indicated.

The trend away from career employment is clear - Munnell and Sass saidonly 46% of older male workers are still with their age-50 employer, down from 70% in a previous study.

The authors asserted in their report that the non-monetary perks of a new job - such as work-life balance and reduced stress - will have to make up for the wage and benefit loss seen from a late-career job change.

class="Pa1"> Being able to attract older employees "would involve workers and employers developing new relationships - generally paying less in wages and benefits, but involving less stress and more non-pecuniary rewards," the researchers wrote. "Developing such relationships, however, will not happen overnight. In the mean­time, the upsurge in job changing is likely to be a significant obstacle to keeping workers employed into their late 60s."

Munnell and Sass also contend that job changing could encourage longer worklives by better matching employer and worker needs, but, in the short term, it is an impediment.

The report is available here .