The American workforce now has the most individuals over the age of 65 since 1970. This can be attributed to the stock market drop of 2001 and the recession the country is now climbing out of. These successive hits to the economy affected many pensions and retirement funds and have forced many workers to put off retirement for a few years.

There is a parallel trend that is also affecting the American workforce. According to a study from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, college graduates are taking a longer time to settle into steady employment. According to the study, the number of young adults (depending on how you define “young”) living with their parents has been increasing since the 1980s.

The study also revealed a few more interesting stats:

  • Young men are less likely to be self-sufficient than they were 20 years ago, but young women have generally increased their labor market activities and are earning higher real wages.
  • Young men born in the 1980s are more likely to be uninsured than those born in the 1960s and 1970s and one-half of the lack of insurance coverage among young adults is due to employment instability.
  • Earnings of young workers in the U.S. and a number of industrialized countries have declined relative to the cost of supporting a family, which may explain their protracted dependence on their parents and the delayed age of marriage.
  • Debt, particularly college debt, and housing prices can delay the move to independent living, but these effects are modest.

HR managers should take note of these developments. The first trend means that people are remaining in the workforce longer to make up for the shortfall of their retirement funds and pension plans. It is safe to assume that the longer people remain in the workforce, the more experienced they’ll be. This increased experience could greatly benefit companies so they’ll need to come up with incentives to attract these experienced workers. Having that deep knowledge base to draw off of would be a valuable resource for any company.

It also shouldn’t come as a surprise when you begin to receive applicants who are in their mid-30s but have little to no experience. Perhaps your veteran workers will be able to teach the 30-something crowd a thing or two. Either way, your company’s HR and recruiting process will need to evolve alongside the ever-evolving workforce.