More older Iowans are choosing to remain in the workforce well into their retirement years. A recent study found Iowans 55 and older account for nearly 20% of the total employed population in Iowa. Terry Hornbuckle, with the Iowa Department on Aging, says the economic downturn in 2007 and 2008 hit many retirees hard.
“Particularly, the newly retiring baby-boomers,” Hornbuckle says. “Their savings were cut in half and they’re choosing to stay (in the workforce) at least until they’re 70.” Although it’s against the law for employers to discriminate based on age, Hornbuckle says there are still businesses that reject older, qualified workers.
“There’s a sense in the community, with older workers, that you won’t recover your training costs or they’re not productive. Research dispels that…those are myths and stereotypes,” Hornbuckle says. This week is designated as National Employ Older Workers Week. Hornbuckle says older Iowans can bring a host of skills to any workplace – including experience and dependability.
“This age group probably has 20 good years of productive employment in their life, if not more,” Hornbuckle said. “And our society is aging much more healthfully, so (they’re) in better health and are capable of working much longer.” Iowa is among the top five states in the country for the percentage of residents who are 65 and older.