An Aging Indiana Workforce's Effect On Brain Drain

Oct 5, 2015

Credit John Lamb / https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnlamb/3654154546

The number of mature workers is on the rise in Indiana.

Nationally, there are more than 3.4 million workers over the age of 70. That number has doubled since the late 1990s. The latest figures also show that 2.3-percent of the current U.S. workforce is now 70 or older.

Orion Bell is CEO of Indianapolis-based CICOA Aging and In Home Solutions. He says people over the age of 60 in Central Indiana currently contribute $2.1 billion in paid employment each year. Such figures are expected to rise as Americans live longer and Baby Boomers age.

Bell says older job seekers are very valuable, but they don't always feel treated that way.

“I’ve talked to people that say, ‘You know, I think sometimes somebody won’t talk to me because they assume that I won’t work for what the new person will, or that I won’t be able to learn a new skill or adapt into a new job’ and we might be giving people short shrift if we’re not willing to look at their skills and capabilities,” Bell says.

Bell says older workers in Indiana can actually help ease the current brain drain. As more older people choose to keep working rather than retire, Bell says many older workers are taking new paths.

“You do see people -- a lot of entrepreneurs, a lot of new business start-ups that are older workers, a lot of people that pursue an avocation that becomes their vocation when they become a little older,” Bell says. “There are real opportunities for people to do that.”