Older Workers: Some Best Practices and Strategies for Engaging and Retaining Older Workers Page: 3 of 17
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Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee:
I am pleased to be here today to discuss how providing additional
opportunities and incentives for older workers to continue to contribute
their considerable skills and knowledge is vitally important to the well-
being of both such individuals and our national economy. By the way,
while some people talk about "older workers," I prefer to use the term
"seasoned workers" to reflect the skills and knowledge that these workers
have. But whatever term we use, more Americans remaining in the
workforce at older ages could lead to benefits at several levels. First,
working longer will allow older workers, many of whom are not
adequately prepared for retirement, to bolster their retirement savings.
Second, hiring and retaining older workers will help employers deal with
projected labor shortages in the future. Third, older workers will
contribute to economic growth and increase federal revenues, helping to
defray some of the anticipated costs associated with increased claims on
Social Security and Medicare. Fourth, several studies show that the longer
persons remain mentally and physically active, the longer they are likely to
Despite all of these gains to be had, there are barriers to continued
employment for older workers. In addition, some employers remain
reluctant to engage and retain this group. While many, including GAO,
have reported on the benefits associated with work later in life, not
enough has been done to address this issue. Many employers are still
unaware of the need to engage older workers to meet their workforce
needs, and few have implemented programs to engage or retain older
workers. Similarly, many workers are not adequately preparing for
The number of older workers is potentially large and is a growing part of
the population. They represent a large and underutilized national resource
with the potential to improve the economic well-being of themselves and
the nation. At the same time, we must also consider those who cannot
work longer due to health limitations or disability and make proper
accommodations for them.
Because of your continuing interest in older workers, today I will present
the results of a recent forum on older workers, which I convened on
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United States. Government Accountability Office. Older Workers: Some Best Practices and Strategies for Engaging and Retaining Older Workers, text, February 28, 2007; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc294160/m1/3/: accessed November 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.