Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Oregon's Aging Workforce: A Look by Industry and County

Oregon’s workforce is aging. The number of Oregon jobs held by workers age 55 and over nearly tripled from 1992 to 2014 (see animation below), while the total number of jobs grew by just over one-third. Workers 55 and over held just 10 percent of the jobs in 1992, increasing their share to 23 percent of all jobs by 2014. Driving this trend is the fact that much of the Baby Boom Generation is now 55 and over, and they are more likely to be in the labor force than previous generations were at this age. Even so, many of these workers are probably planning to retire in the next 10 years, taking their skills and experience with them.

Although the aging workforce is a general demographic trend, it impacts employers, industries, or regions to varying degrees. Employers should know the age profile of their own workforce so they can plan accordingly for increased turnover from retirees. At a broader level, workforce planners need to know the demographic profiles of entire industries and regions to help gauge the need for future replacement workers.

The pace of retirements will likely be faster in industries that have an older workforce profile. Industry age profiles vary from the relatively young accommodation and food services sector where just 14 percent of workers are 55 and older to the relatively old mining and quarrying sector where 33 percent of workers are 55 and older. Although utilities and mining have high concentrations of older workers, they employ fewer workers and will require relatively few replacement workers. Some employers within these industries may struggle to find enough suitable workers if they don’t plan ahead.

Industries that stand out in sheer size and share of workers 55 and over are health care and social assistance (both private and public) and educational services (again, both private and public). These two sectors combined employ one out of four workers age 55 and over. Employers in these and in all other industries need to plan for how they are going to attract replacement workers, especially for jobs that require significant training.

Rural county workforces tend to have a higher share of older workers and will feel the impact of the aging workforce more than metro counties. In counties outside metropolitan areas, more than one out of four (27%) workers is 55 years or older. That represents more than 60,000 workers in rural Oregon who are probably hoping to retire within the next decade.

Read more about the demographic trends by industry in Oregon's counties in the full article, Oregon’s Aging Workforce by Industry and County, 2014, written by Nick Beleiciks.

No comments: