Longer Lives Mean Longer Careers – so How Do We Prepare? | Markle
Longer Lives Mean Longer Careers – so How Do We Prepare? | Markle

Longer Lives Mean Longer Careers – so How Do We Prepare?

March 23, 2023 - Written By Markle | Blog Archive


Almost half of baby boomers and more than one-third of Generation X expect to work past age 70 or do not plan to retire, according to a study by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies.

Our life expectancy has increased at an extraordinary rate over the past 120 years, from roughly 47 years at the beginning of the 20th century in the United States to more than 78 years today.

These longer lives mean longer careers, so how do we prepare? That’s one of the questions The Century Summit 2022, hosted by the Stanford Center of Longevity, aimed to answer when it convened researchers, advocates, and others, to explore how we can make century-long lives healthier, more productive, and more equitable. Beth Cobert, Acting President of the Markle Foundation, joined Jane Oates, President of WorkingNation, and Ramsey Alwin, CEO of National Council on Aging to discuss whether we could conceive of longer careers that are not simply longer versions of our current model but are more balanced, more productive, and more equitable.

One of the themes that we constantly see when discussing the future of work is lifelong learning. As Beth mentioned during this panel, “We’re all going to have to learn new things over the course of what’s going to be an increasingly long working life.” We need to create systems, institutions, processes, and incentives that enable individuals to keep doing that learning.

62% of Americans pursue careers without a bachelor’s degree – what does this mean for the future? There is an increasing need for employers to look beyond a four-year degree and reduce barriers to entry for good-paying jobs. “When I think about this issue, I think about it both from the perspective of the individuals who aren’t getting opportunity and from the perspective of the employers and organizations who are missing out on talent that is there in front of them, but they don’t see it, they don’t look for it and they don’t support it” said Beth.

“You hear today from many companies saying ‘I can’t find the talent I need,’ they can’t find the talent they need looking in the same places in the same ways, looking for people who look like them and not like our increasingly diverse population across the country.”

Beth Cobert – Acting President, Markle Foundation

Jane pointed to research being done by organizations like McKinsey and Burning Glass which have found there is a discrepancy between the skills possessed by individuals with bachelor’s degrees and the requirements of their current jobs. “There’s a mismatch everywhere. Those with a bachelor’s degree are underemployed. They’re making less money than they should and the people who really have the skills for those jobs are not getting access to them” said Jane.

The panel discusses the importance of upskilling people to ensure they have in-demand digital skills, the role government can play to ensure people have access to quality jobs, and the responsibility employers have to adopt inclusive hiring practices.  You can learn more about Markle’s work to expand access to quality jobs for all Americans through our Rework America Alliance.

Watch the full conversation here.


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