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How Companies Must Adapt for an Aging Workforce

by David Bloom and David Canning  |   9:00 AM December 3, 2012, Harvard Business Review Blog Network

The world's population is growing older, taking us into uncharted demographic waters. By 2050, over one-fifth of the US population will be 65 or older, up from the current figure of one-seventh. The number of centenarians worldwide will double by 2023 and double again by 2035. Projections suggest life expectancy will surpass 100 in some industrialized countries by the second half of this century — roughly triple the lifespan that prevailed worldwide throughout most of human history.

Business has been slow to plan for population aging, but delay won't be an option for much longer. Unemployment is high now, but as labor markets tighten, especially in Europe and Japan, companies will soon have little choice but to welcome older employees. Indeed, prompt action to harness — and enhance — the contributions of older workers will be seen as a key competitive advantage.

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How Companies Must Adapt for an Aging Workforce

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