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2009 News Archive

State Workforces Can Be Competitive Despite Threat of Brain Drain

16 December 2009—In an effort to address the forthcoming evaporation of talent, the top current priority reported among state agencies, increasing productivity through increased efficiency, was nearly unanimously 100%, according to the States as Employers-of-Choice survey by the Sloan Center on Aging & Work (Fall 2008).

State Agencies Failing to Engage Older Workers

16 December 2009—The Sloan Center on Aging & Work announces the Facts Database, available to the public on the Center’s website: The Facts Database provides over 1700 statistics on workforce trends. Facts have been selected from the Center's own research, journal articles, and reports published by non-profit and for-profit agencies and organizations. Each fact is coded with one or more topics for ease of searching. Graphs and figures are also included.

State Agencies Failing to Engage Older Workers

7 December 2009—State government agencies are particularly at risk of facing workforce shortages in the next ten years and beyond, as 47% of state government workers are aged 45+, compared to 37% of private sector employees…

Staying “Age-Responsive” in a Climate of New Organizational Challenges

1 December 2009—In some ways, there is nothing subtle about the recession’s effects on workers’ priorities. It’s a simple economic equation. Employees need to work longer, sometimes to make ends meet, but certainly to prepare for retirement …

Supporting Workplace Culture Change

30 November 2009—Culture change is happening all around us. Shifts in the age demographics of the workforce are changing workers’ expectations with regard to retirement, career paths, and when, where, and how work gets done. This does not mean, however, that organizational culture and practices have necessarily caught up.

When We Look Back, What Will We Say About Lessons Learned?

30 November 2009—It is incumbent on workplace leaders to read the terrain of today’s business environment, applying lessons learned from the past to the complexities that characterize today’s business realities. Findings from the 2009 Talent Management Study, recently completed by the Sloan Center on Aging & Work, has found that few employers have adopted strategies that could help them to capitalize on some of the opportunities associated with the aging of the workforce.

Leading Edge Strategic Adaptation

19 November 2009—While the predictions of dramatic shifts have been confronting organizational leaders for some time, lags in planning for age-related change or simple neglect have generally been the rule. Of course, exceptions do exist. A minority of employers (12%) surveyed by the Sloan Center on Aging & Work …

Despite Warnings, U.S. Companies Remain Unprepared for Baby Boomers’ Exodus

17 November 2009—With millions of Baby Boomers poised to age out of the workforce, US companies remain unprepared for the imminent talent desert that promises to alter the productive capacity of business and disrupt the national economic landscape …

The Way We Were … And Still Are

13 November 2009—With economic pressures now heavily influencing business strategy and workplace culture, it is complicated to know where workforce planning alone ranks as a priority. Has age-related workforce planning become relegated to secondary or even invisible status?

Visions for a New Future of Aging

11 November 2009—The world of work has yet to fully embrace new assumptions and expectations about aging.  Neither have social policies and laws caught up to the changing context of aging …

Flexibility Adoption Result of Management Age Not Workforce Makeup

09 November 2009—Workforce demographics matter less than the age of leadership. A new analysis shows how the age of management predicts in the adoption of flexible work options in nonprofit and for-profit organizations …

"Beyond Age" Workshop Challenges Perceptions of Self and Co-workers

2 November 2009—You can’t hide your age. Neither can you hide how other people perceive it. But, as it turns out, that’s ok! Knowing how old you are, or appear to be, can be beneficial for you and your colleagues at work.

Optimal Fit Means Flexible Management

30 October 2009—Optimal fit means flexible management - From adjusted workday start and stop times, to time off for professional development, to family leave, to work-from-home choices, to delayed retirement, the list of flexible work options is growing for America’s workforce.

Driving Innovation With Age Diversity

30 October 2009—There has been a paradigm shift with regard to aging and work. Not so long ago, we linked “older workers” to “retirement.” The old way of thinking suggested that the most important resource employers could offer older workers was a solid retirement package (and maybe a watch). In the spring of 2010, the Center implemented the first of their Executive Innovation Labs, designed to support workplace leaders interested in leveraging the power of age diversity.

Sloan Center Launches Engaged as We Age Project

26 October 2009—Growing old in America is not what is used to be. In response to the changing demographics of the 21st century, older adults in America now have multiple life engagements—in continued work, in volunteer activities, in education and other learning activities, in care-giving for family members and friends. But what is their collective impact?

Changing Age Demographics: Business Imperative or HR Distraction?

10 October 2009—What are you doing in your organization to ensure that this issue remains a business priority? Please join us for what promises to be a provocative and highly interactive online presentation discussing the Center's latest study, representative of small, medium, and large businesses in a variety of industries.

When the Going Gets Tough - Get Flexible! - Flexible Work Options in the Private And Public Sectors

06 October 2009—When the Going Gets Tough–Get Flexible: Flexible Work Options in the Private and Public sectors. In its States as Employers-of-Choice Survey (2009) and National Study of Business Strategy and Workforce Development (2006), the Sloan Center on Aging & Work has found that private sector companies and public sector agencies share many of the same economic and workforce pressures and goals (such as increasing productivity, workforce management, and cost leadership), although to varying degrees of priority.

The Flex Factor - Workers and Companies Benefit from Job Options

06 October 2009—The Age & Generations Study, conducted by the Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College in 2008, surveyed 2,210 U.S. workers to examine the extent to which age, career, and life-stage influenced employees’ experiences at work. More than 78% of respondents said that having access to flexible work options contributes to their success as employees to a “moderate” or “great extent,” and 90% reported that having access to flexible work options contributes to their overall quality of life to a “moderate” or “great extent.”


22 September 2009—Statistics on employers' perceptions of older workers and technology from the Sloan Center on Aging and Work are cited by CNN Money.

Thought Leadership for States

14 September 2009—The public sector workforce has 11.3% more of the workforce eligibility for retirement in the next ten years when compared to private sector. Also, state agencies were more likely to have analyzed their workforce demographics than private sector organizations surveyed (69.9% vs. 42.2%, respectively).

Layoffs Toughest on Young, Older Workers

6 September 2009—Young adults are more at risk for losing their jobs and homes in a recession, while people later in life are more likely to declare bankruptcy in order to protect their assets, said the center's Co-Director of Research Tay McNamara, in an article by Mike Schneider and Errin Haines with the Associated Press.

With Age Comes the Wisdom to Roll with the Punches at Work

4 September 2009—The Center's Age & Generations Study hits home at the Center for Corporate Citizenship – and specifically at the desk of a baby boomer.

Age as an Asset/Deficit

28 August 2009—Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes comments on valuing differences based on workers' age when considering different approaches to customer service.

When Are You (Too) Old? And What Can You Do About It ?

27 August 2009—As described in the Center’s Global Issue Brief “When is a Person Too Young or Too Old to Work?”, like adulthood and middle age, the ideal age to transition into retirement years is socially defined. We should remember that retirement, as a discrete life stage, did not exist prior to the industrial economies of 20th century. Presently the length of retirement and accompanying lifestyle changes are continually shifting to correspond with the values of current generations.

Age as Asset/Deficit

27 August 2009—Age Diversity is a good thing! Older workers (by virtue of their life stage, experience, career stage, or perhaps generational perspectives) may be well suited to customer service work. They tend to bring patience and social intelligence to the workplace. Younger workers (by virtue of their life stage, career stage, lack of experience, or perhaps generational perspectives) may bring a lot of competencies to the workplace, but they tend to lack customer savvy. But, it is less important to document these variations than it is to harness and share the “wealth” of the positive differences.

To Engage or Discourage? Perceptions and Keys to Leveraging Older Workers

30 July 2009—The economic downturn is visibly affecting more than job availability for older workers; job quality is also suffering. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, there has been a staggering 30% increase in claims of age discrimination over the previous year. Research studies do find that employers recognize that older workers contribute at least some value to their organizations. However, negative attitudes about older adults persist.

How Old Are You?

30 July 2009—How old are you? The Sloan Center on Aging & Work refers to age as the “prism of age” because age is multi-dimensional. People may feel “old” in some ways, but “young” in other ways. Findings from the Age & Generations Study suggest that many people 50+ say they are still in early career. In short, different age-related factors complicate or inform how we see our own or another person’s “age.”

Older Workers Need Flexibility, Training, But Often Fail to Get It

30 July 2009—Jacquelyn James, the Center's Co-director of Research, comments on the difficulties older workers experience when their companies fail to accommodate the aging labor force.

Why are Young Workers Less Engaged Today? 

8 July 2009—"Some older workers have seen it all, and that gives them experiential resilience. Younger workers just don't have the depth of experience ..." Sloan Center research evaluating the effects of the recession on employee engagement across generations is featured by Diversity.Inc.

Remembering When And How Age Can Affect Employment Experiences

29 June 2009—State & Private Sector Benefits—According to a 2009 analysis of National Compensation Survey data, "among public sector workers, State government workers had higher rates of access to wellness programs and employee assistance programs than did local government workers." Private sector workers had least access to such services. For further information, see the States as Employers of Choice.

Remembering When And How Age Can Affect Employment Experiences

29 June 2009—What is the business case for focusing on talent management issues during this economic downturn? From a risk management perspective, what are some possible unintended consequences of not paying enough attention to employees during these tumultuous times? How does age (and age related factors such as career stage or life cycle experiences) affect the outcomes? Review The Difference a Downturn Can Make: Assessing the Early Effects of the Economic Crisis on the Employment Experiences of Workers.

Multinational Study Launched

25 June 2009—How do employees’ priorities, needs, utilization of workplace-based resources, and satisfaction with quality of employment vary by their age, career stage, and life stage? How does country context, including public policies and cultural orientations, influence … 

Employees Strength in Downturn

24 June 2009—In a new analysis of the Age & Generations Study, 41% of responding employees reported not having access to the flexible work options they need to fulfill their work and personal needs.

Training & Development Opportunities Impact Engagement

01 June 2009—Training & Development Opportunities Impact Engagement - According to the 2008 WorkTrends Survey, "half of workers (50%) and those looking for work say they feel as if they need more education and training, and nearly two-thirds (61%) say they would like more education and training."

Age Diversity = Opportunity

01 June 2009—How does age diversity compound the challenges/opportunities of global talent management?

Age Diversity = Opportunity

29 May 2009—Over the course of the past year the center has been conducting work focusing on the ways that "age can matter" in different countries around the world. Researchers from the countries listed below have been: gathering descriptive demographic information and data about economic and social indicators. 

Keeping Fit with Flexibility

20 May 2009—In new Sloan Center Age & Generations Study, 41.4% of the employees who responded reported that they do not have access to the flexible work options they need to fulfill their work and personal needs “at all” or only “to a limited extent.” 

Worker's Needs Vary By Age

14 May 2009—Keeping employees engaged in the midst of layoffs, pay cuts and a skittish economy can be difficult. Kelly Faircloth of interviews Research Associate Tina Matz-Costa about the center's research on employee engagement. 

Landing a Job Though You're Not Young Anymore

6 May 2009—What stereotypes hamper older workers' job hunts? Results of a 2007 survey of employer perceptions by BC's Sloan Center on Aging & Work, and comments by director Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes, are highlighted by Forbes' Tara Weiss. 

Now Hiring Retired Seniors

29 April 2009—Director Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes comments on the advantages older workers can bring to business for CBS Evening News » 

Retaining Older Workers with Responsive Work Environments

27 April 2009—Retaining Older Workers with Responsive Work Environments—like offering trainings to learn new skills, to keep knowledge up-to-date, or learning entirely types of jobs. Employers needing to develop new strategies for the recruitment and retention of older workers can profit from leading edge evidence for improving business outcomes.

Does Age Still Matter Today?

27 April 2009—Does Age still Matter? - The Age & Generations Study recently conducted by the Sloan Center on Aging & Work found that there are variations in the ways that employees experience their jobs. In today's topsy turvey world, it is important for employers to remember that the impact of age might not be as simple as employee’s year of birth. Other age-related factors, such as career-stage, job tenure, or dependent care status can have a significant impact on work experiences.

States as Employers-of-Choice

27 April 2009—Education and training continues to be the cornerstone of the efforts that states make to link workforce development with plans for sustainable economic progress. 

When is a Person Too Young or Too Old to Work?

25 April 2009—In the study When is a Person Too Young or Too Old to Work? author Steve Sweet uses the European Social Survey (2006-2007) to study the differences in age expectations across Europe to find that, "while aging is driven by biological factors, the statuses associated with age are socially conferred." 

New Employee Engagement Study Defines How Employers Can Harness the Power of a Multi-Generational Workforce

21 April 2009—The challenging economy has forced more and more employers to focus on how they can “do more with less” and increase productivity with their workforce. A new MetLife Mature Market Institute study, conducted in partnership with Boston College’s Sloan Center on Aging & Work, indicates that employers have significant opportunities to maximize the strength of their workforces and optimize workforce productivity through practices geared to the various generations. 

How Providing Eldercare Affects Your Job Security

17 April 2009—Director Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes quoted by Emily Brandon in U.S. News & World Report (see expcerpt below, or read the blog here »)

Think Age is Enough to Predict Worker Needs? Think Again

9 April 2009—Business policies to keep and engage good workers often are based on assumptions of employees’ age.  But they may miss the mark.

State Employment Aged 55+ with College Degree

10 March 2009—Education and training continues to be the cornerstone of the efforts that states make to link workforce development with plans for sustainable economic progress.

Sloan Center Releases Summary of Older Worker Engagement, Job Quality, Health, Well-being

23 February, 2009—Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes cites lingering stereotypes that older workers are more expensive, less productive and resistant to change, in an article by Clare Ansberry of the Wall Street Journal.

Age Discrimination in the Current Economy

6 February 2009—Director Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes discusses challenges for older workers on KQED's "Forum."

State Employment Rates For Persons Aged 55+

3 February 2009—Although the aging of the population is a national trend, its impact varies from state to state given the discrepancies in the states' demographic and economic situations.