Age discrimination costs U.S. economy estimated $850 billion
Age discrimination costs U.S. economy estimated $850 billion
02 Jan 2020

New reseach recently published by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and the Economist Intelligence Unit estimates that bias against older workers cost the U.S. economy $850 billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2018. This would have been on top of the 40% of GDP that workers aged 50 or older contributed in 2018, generating $5.7 trillion in wages and salaries. 

"The economy in 2018 could have been 4 percent larger if workers did not face barriers to working longer." argues Debra Whitman, AARP's executive vice president and chief public policy officer. With the economic contribution of the 50-plus population expected to triple in the next three decades, age discrimination could cost the U.S. economy an estimated $3.9 trillion in 2050.

"Studies have shown that older workers are highly engaged, with low turnover, and often serve an important role as mentors,” Whitman said. “Their expertise helps businesses and pays big dividends for the economy as a whole. Employers who embrace age diversity will be at an advantage."

The report suggests measures organizations can take to reduce age discrimination and start unleashing the economic potential of older workers, including:

Recognizing bias - recognize age-related bias in your organization and take steps to actively prevent it

Busting myths - challenge myths about older workers that are stopping you from turning age into a competitive advantage

Fostering inclusion - reap the benefits of age diversity and inclusion by helping all people reach their full potential

Increasing flexibility - increase use of flexible work options, including the opportunity to work part-time

Creating opportunities for skill development - learning is a lifelong process and should be open to all

Investing in a multi-generational workforce - multi-generational workforces are more productive: workers from all ages and experiences value the opportunity to learn from one another.

To read the full report, click here.

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