Boston College

To evaluate older workers’ value to employers and to inform policymakers as to any potential hurdles to working longer that retirees will face

  • Amount $299,148
  • City Chestnut Hill, MA
  • Investigator Alicia Munnell
  • Year 2019
  • Program Research
  • Sub-program Working Longer

Many older Americans are both healthy enough to work past conventional retirement age and want or need to stay in the labor market. But do employers need and want older workers? This grant to the Center on Retirement Research (CRR) at Boston College aims to produce an enhanced understanding of the extent to which employers are ready and willing to hire and retain older workers. The CRR initiative will involve four separate, but integrated research projects. First, the CRR team will survey a large sample of employers to acquire their perceptions of the productivity and costs of their older workers relative to their younger ones. Second, they will analyze a large proprietary dataset provided by, a nationally recognized job site for workers over the age of 50, and analyze the sorts of jobs being offered to workers on the site. Third, they will use multiple data sources to construct an index that ranks occupations by how easy it is for older workers to stay working or be hired into that occupation. Fourth, they will use data from the Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Survey (LEHD), the Census Business Register (CBR), and the Longitudinal Business Register (LBR) to compare quantitative measures of worker value—the actual productivity (revenue per worker) and profitability (revenue divided by wages)—at firms based on the age distribution of their employees.

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