In this opinion piece, researchers Amy Lui Abel and Diane Lim of The Conference Board explain why demographic and economic trends provide an opportunity for older women to expand their role in the labor market. Several female-dominated occupations — especially in health care services — face shortages that will only grow. But given the unique needs and circumstances of older women, realizing their full economic contribution will hinge on employers providing them with more flexible work environments. If companies do this, the greying of America could become an opportunity rather than a threat.
Over the next decade America’s tight labor market will continue making headlines. The fundamental reason stems from retiring Baby Boomers outpacing the number of younger workers entering the workforce.
To help the country’s labor supply better meet demand, keeping the present workforce engaged in work would go a long way. Retaining every cohort matters. But U.S. businesses should put particular focus on retaining older women. Now and even more so in the future, increasing their participation would create substantial economic opportunity. To realize that opportunity, more companies should consider making flexible work arrangements a staple of their employee recruitment and engagement strategy.