Whether paid or unpaid, meaningful work builds on personal strengths, offers a sense of purpose, and produces benefits for both the doer and the community. Throughout the world, however, ageism in the workplace is pervasive, even while the increasing threat of financial insecurity in old age is creating anxiety. Here, you will find information about multiple routes to purposeful aging that generates good work and livelihood.
Work is much more than employment. It is paid or unpaid productivity that benefits you or your family, your employer or your community. It includes parenting and grandparenting, caring for yourself and others, creative expression, and teaching/learning. Purposeful work contributes to healthy aging throughout life. At Pass It On, we talk about the benefit of “Meaningful work, paid or unpaid, through the last breath.” And we talk about LifeWork – cultivating and honing your skills and interests through a lifelong pattern of meaningful work. Here we show resources that expand work opportunities and LifeWork planning.
Economic security sufficient to cover basic needs is basic to positive aging. Policies and programs to support both retirement and older workers seeking a livelihood are basic to economic security.
What issues or topics relevant to Work and/or Economic Security would you like to discuss with others? The first Special Interest Group (SIG) for Work and Economic Security is focused on the topic of Entrepreneurship. Initiated October 2017 and led by Lynda Smith from South Africa and Julia Randell-Khan from London (now on a fellowship at Stanford University), the group is now closed to new members while it develops its sub-topics and meeting protocol. We will post an announcement when membership reopens.
In the meantime, if you are interested in joining the Entrepreneurship SIG, or if you have a topic for another Special Interest Group (SIG) in the Work and Economic Security Pathway, please send an e-mail to Jan Hively at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Projects & Organizations
COVE offers a process and a set of tools to help individuals align their interests and skills to the needs of mission-driven organizations and find meaningful and satisfying work opportunities.
Informal network of organizations and individuals advancing work with a social impact for people in midlife and beyond. See Elzora’s story.
Workspaces where men (and women) make and mend things while meeting and sharing their experience, skills, and information.
Peer network dedicated to helping people during midlife (ages 45 – 70+) to navigate work/life transitions.
Trained peer mentors who help people who are trying to find meaningful work and community connections in the second half of life.
Encore Talent Works. The Encore Talent Works Toolkit is a dynamic online resource that makes the value of encore talent plain. The toolkit helps nonprofit leaders, hiring managers and volunteer managers recognize and harness the power of encore talent, with practical how-to information, expert resources and success stories. Created by Encore.org and Encore Network leaders throughout the U.S., the toolkit represents a collaboration grounded in experience and best practices, offering insights on the unique attributes of encore-stage adults, as well as sections about transferable skills, getting started, and recruiting skilled volunteers and employees. An interactive, searchable map of U.S. encore programs complements the toolkit, connecting organizations with local resources and helping encore-seekers find opportunities. Questions? Comments? Contact Betsy Werley, the Project Leader and Director of Network Expansion.
Expanding Support for Women Entrepreneurs. Anne Ravona, who publishes the Global InvestHer Newsletter, recently showed that eight percent of the partners at the top 100 venture capital firms are women. This may look pathetic, but that’s 17 percent better than 18 months ago. Here are some of the takeaways showing other improvements in the impact of top venture firms on women: Among the top 100 venture firms, the percentage of women partners edged up to 8 percent from 7 percent, an increase of 17 percent. ~Eight firms in the top 100 added a female partner for the first time. ~Women now hold 15 percent of the partner roles at accelerators and corporate venture firms, a 25 percent improvement in 18 months. ~Women founded 16 micro-venture funds in the last three years, 21 percent of all the new firms in that category. ~10 percent of venture dollars globally between 2012 and Q3 2017 went to startups with at least one woman founder.~16 percent of seed dollars globally between 2012 and Q3 2017 went to startups with at least one woman founder. GlobalInvestHer is a global network of women entrepreneurs focused on funding. Access to advice from other female entrepreneurs and investors is available through the free global community.
The Power of Purposeful Aging. With people living longer than ever and the world’s older population expanding at an unprecedented rate, the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging convened the Purposeful Aging Summit in Los Angeles in 2016. Thought leaders from public policy, business, academia, philanthropy, and media gathered to discuss reframing perceptions of aging in the 21st century. The participants acknowledged the importance of overcoming deeply ingrained bias, and the need to shed light on the compelling but little-understood benefits of purposeful aging. They recognized the upside of changing the culture of aging for individuals old and young. This conference report summarizes the themes, findings, and vision of the Purposeful Aging Summit. 12/16
Co-founders Thibault Bastin and Barthemly Gas, both young civil engineers have decided to build human bridges and their mission in life is to tap into the vast reserve of senior skills and enrich the lives of both the skilled seniors and younger learners. The association has two categories of members seniors and young people keen to acquire a wide range of skills from handwork and carpentry to computer skills and languages. This initiative earned a prize from the City of Paris.
Wisdom Workers. A tourism company in New Zealand called Real Journeys has faced the frustration of younger employees wanting to progress and concerns about retirement procedures for launch masters by developing a certificate training course with a standardized curriculum taught by ageing skippers. The program integrates the master skippers with the younger generation workers on the job so they can informally mentor the next generation and share what they know. Here is the award-winning model for Wisdom Workers. 10/17
Designing Positive Platforms. The Institute for the Future takes a close look at the upside and downside of the gig economy. Ever-growing numbers of senior workers are directly involved in this new way of working. In a gig economy, temporary jobs are commonplace and companies tend toward hiring independent contractors and freelancers instead of full-time employees. It runs entirely on online social platforms that connect people, knowledge and opportunities for meaningful collaborative work. View guide here. 2/18
Generation Experience – Elizabeth Isele’s mesage is spreading. The “experienced economy” has shifted from concept to reality and there are today endless examples of countries and companies showcasing and championing “experieneurship.” That word describes experienced workers initiating new ventures as entrepreneurs. One of the leaders fostering learning in this field is Hunter Leonard of Melbourne, Australia. His new book is titled Generation Experience. Watch this video interview with Hunter Leonard and Moira Allan. 3/18
Guide to Managing a Volunteer Workforce. This March 2016 Harvard Business Review article by Joe McCannon and Hahrie Han included this sage advice: Make their dreams come true ~ Create fellowship~ Build easy on-ramps ~ Create rhythms that sustain excitement ~ Offer personal benchmarks ~ Make the experience fun, affirmative and fear-free. Read the entire article here. 4/16
The Economics of Longevity. A special report on The Economics of Longevity, titled “The New Old,” was published by The Economist in London in July. With contributions from over 30 experts in ageing, it’s clear that the impacts of the Global Ageing trend are as great as those from climate change or new technologies. “Making longer lives financially more viable requires a fundamental rethinking of life trajectories.” “Given the right input from governments, employers and individuals, it should be possible to stretch the increasingly productive in-betweener stage and compress the dependent period at the very end of life.” The report reinforces our appreciation of intergenerational programs with research that shows that, “Older people in multi-generational teams tend to boost the productivity of those around them.” 10/17
The Longevity Economy: Generating Economic Growth and New Opportunities for Business. Although focused on the economic impact of the growing population over 50 in the U.S., this report published in 2013 by Oxford Economics for AARP is useful for any country with a rapidly aging population. It shows how the shifting spending patterns of older adults provide employment for nearly 100 million Americans, boost charitable giving, and contribute over half of tax revenue. It also quantifies the paid and unpaid productivity of people who are working and volunteering longer. http://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/home-and-family/personal-technology/2013-10/Longevity-Economy-Generating-New-Growth-AARP.pdf
85+ and Working. Percentage-wise, the largest population growth in the U.S. is in the age 85+ age group. So maybe it’s not surprising that a record number of U.S. seniors age 85 and older are working for pay. They’re doing all sorts of jobs – crossing guards, funeral service workers, clergy, sales, property managers, managers and legislators, lawyers and judges. By sheer numbers, the top job among the 85-plus-year-olds is farmers and ranchers. Read article in Washington Post. 9/18
Older women are confronted with multiple poverty risks in Europe, including an alarming 40% pension gap. ‘The EU gender pension gap of almost 40% should raise alarm among policy makers. Yet they prefer to show national average poverty rates that do not reflect the reality faced by many older women’, says Anne-Sophie Parent, Secretary-General of AGE Platform Europe. ‘Older women face multiple poverty risks: they bear the financial consequences of spending more time educating children and caring for family members, of gender discrimination in pay, and of longevity. The gender pension gap will continue to increase if nothing is done to address inequalities faced by women and ensure they have access to a fair and decent income throughout their lives. Read more. 11/17
Purposeful Aging – Readings and Resources. The Milken Institute compiled this valuable library of more than 100 books and resources to go hand in hand with the Power of Purposeful Aging conference report cited earlier. In its preface, Paul H. Irving, Chairman of the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging, says: “In 1944, it was time to transform the global economy. Now, the moment has arrived for another grand challenge: to re-imagine the future of aging and change the public narrative about the roles and value of older adults.” 12/16
Rethinking the Workplace: Flexibility, Fairness, and Enlightened Automation, McKinsey Quarterly. “What sort of workplace should we expect in the future?” “How will automation affect jobs?” James Manyika, chair of the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), sat down to discuss these and other issues with Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the London-based Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. Read edited excerpts from their conversation. (View extended video feature of the discussion between Manyika and Taylor here.) 11/17
The Urgency of Now: Supporting Early-stage Entrepreneurs. The Stanford Centre on Philanthropy and Civil Society offers a 10-part series, in partnership with the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, that shares the perspectives of both entrepreneurs and funders on the role that early-stage support plays in creating long-term social change. Despite all the scientific and technological advances the social sector has seen—and the vast amount of capital that has been spent to address issues like systemic poverty, health care access, basic needs, and education — too much remains left undone. Although there are pockets of improvements, large segments of society are still left on their own, and the world faces increasingly complex problems but lacks the resources to solve them. 2/18
Working for the Economic Empowerment of Rural Women – Old and Young.“Women and girls are central to the sustainability of rural households and communities, improving rural livelihoods and overall wellbeing, but their role and significance is often overlooked.” Through a joint program titled UN Women, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Program are working together to change this. Here’s an article about the issue, with a link to the UN program, titled “Rural Women: the Invisible Mainstay of Sustainability.” 11/17
Heather McGowan: Work to Learn.
“We live in times of unprecedented technological change and rapid global expansion, two massive shifting forces that together are transforming what work will look like in the future when anything mentally or physically routine or predictable can and will be replaced by automation. We must update our human operating system to integrate new contextual references and frameworks. The Future of Work and the Future of Learning are inextricably linked.” In this video Heather gives an overview of how this world is changing. http://www.heathermcgowan.net/ 1/18
BBC News UK – Older Workers are ‘Untapped Resource’. In June 2014, BBC News in the United Kingdom (UK) featured a segment in which they discussed how the UK, like many other countries around the world, are transitioning into a period where opportunities to retire early with a substantial pension are a relic of the past. The segment discussed the phenomenon of people working into later life and specifically mentioned the fact that retaining experienced and productive workers could potentially be beneficial for individuals, businesses, and the economy as a whole.
Marc Freedman at the Avenidas Annual Breakfast
How John Gardner influenced Encore
Tells of his inspiration from John Gardner
Nora Hannah: Encore Solutions
Social Change at a very Organic Level
Creating societal change by putting your skills to work in socially meaningful ways.
Marc Freedman: Shaping the Future of the Encore Movement
Celebrating 5 purpose prize winners
Creative work at later juncture in life.
Betsy Werley: Encore Women
We want to make ourselves a force in the wider world
The Transition Network. Her story leaving corporate and into non profit.
Marc Freedman: An Encore for Baby Boomers
Marc Freedman, CEO of Civic Ventures teaches us retirement …
Dick Goldberg: Encore Opportunities
An abundance of skills, an abundance of commitment
Skills and resources elders can bring to organizations.
An hour-long panel discussion about the “business of ageing” convened by the Milken Institute in London in 2016, including Sarjbit Nahal, Bank of America; Jonathan Collie, author of “The Age of No Retirement;” Lynda Gratton, London Business School, co-author of “The 100-Year Life”; Baroness Sally Greengross, director of the International Longevity Center; and Jodi Holtzman, AARP.