The Graying of the Workforce – Facts / Myths


Forty is the old age of youth; fifty the youth of old age ~Victor Hugo.


Generally people over the age of 65 are known as senior citizens, and in 2020 an estimated 17 per cent of the USA population will be over age 65 (an estimated 27+% will be over age 55).

Following are some worrisome facts for countries and organizations, but simultaneously welcome facts for those who seek to be “still in demand after 65+”

  • Fact: 31% of employers worldwide find it a challenge to fill positions due to the shortage of talent in their markets.
  • Fact: One in every 7.5 people in the USA is now 65 years or older. Credible data is not available for the exit and entry numbers for the workforce, but using other countries as a reference point, it should be almost 1 for 1.
  • Fact: One in 7 in Canada is now a senior citizen. For every worker that exits the workforce, just over one enters.
  • Fact: One in 5.9 in Europe is now a senior citizen, and by 2030 this figure will be one in every 4. More people are exiting than entering the workforce.
  • Fact: One in 4.4 in the Japan is now a senior citizen. More people are exiting than entering the workforce.
  • On the cards: In China, Russia, Canada and South Korea more people will be at their retirement age than entering the workforce by 2020.

Workforce Movements and Generation U

A Shrinking Workforce

It is clear from the above that the skilled workforce in the USA and rest of the Western world is shrinking due to the exit of baby boomers worldwide.

Demographic shifts are increasing and beginning to present both geographical areas, and local and global employers with interesting challenges. They will soon have to recruit from both an aging and dwindling workforce.

In some countries the replacement is almost 1 entrant for 1 exit, except that the person who exits has more than 40 years worth of experience.

The end result will be unparalleled competition (and possible polarization) between young and old, skilled and semi-/non-skilled, knowledge and non-knowledge workers, and perhaps even amongst different industries and countries – despite growing populations.

  • Generation U, shifting demographics and the myths & facts about senior workers are discussed in more detail in the book.

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