Forget about mall-walking and midday bingo games. It seems that workers over 55 just aren’t interested in retiring. This is problematic for the young people who, under different circumstances, would have replaced them in the workforce.
These observations come from a new Pew Research Center report, which looks at current workforce trends and predicts what may happen in the near future. So why are people over 55 staying at their metaphorical desks? For many of them, it’s not because of the hit their investments have taken—it’s because they want to stay engaged and relevant.
When asked to identify specific reasons for working, older workers emphasize psychological and social factors: “to feel useful”; “to give myself something to do”; “to be with other people.” Younger and middle-aged workers are much more inclined to cite classic pocketbook considerations: “to support myself and my family”; “to live independently”; “to qualify for retirement benefits”; “to receive health care benefits.”
Meanwhile, fewer Americans between ages 16 and 24 are employed or looking for full-time work, and they are generally remaining in school because of the number of jobs that currently require college education of some sort. Or because school is a much safer place to be than the job market right now.