Chicago, IL, February 9, 2023
Sharon Watson, Easterseals
Kathryn Emery, Voya Financial
Easterseals — one of the nation’s leading disability and community services providers — and Voya Cares® — a program of Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA) that provides resources, thought leadership and advocacy for disability inclusion — announced today the release of a new research paper, titled Employment Extenders: A (labor) force to be reckoned with. The paper focuses on understanding the mindset of Employment Extenders, the individuals who make up the fastest growing segment of the labor market, and points to ways that employers and service providers can support older workers as they prepare to retire.
“Employers and employees often believe that, once an individual reaches a certain age, it’s time for them to start thinking about retirement, but the trend toward continuing to retire later in life, or not at all, is growing,” said Kendra E. Davenport, president and CEO, Easterseals. “In a tight labor market, Employment Extenders often represent years of experience and professional knowledge that can benefit an employer’s entire workforce, but our study finds that they have unique concerns and needs that employers and community service providers can help them address.”
Survey findings reveal seemingly contradictory motivations for extending employment, which raise the question about whether Employment Extenders in the U.S. are working longer because they want to or need to. While the majority of survey participants indicate that they have not saved enough for retirement, with most having less than $500,000 in savings, they also say they are working longer because they want to.
Additionally, Employment Extenders show a lack of future planning for caregiving. Most are not thinking about the increased likelihood that they or a family member may become disabled as part of the aging process, which may accelerate their need to stop working before they plan to do so. Results also indicate that they do not consider the costs associated with caring for themselves or a loved one in their financial plans for retirement.
“At Voya, we’re committed to helping employers meet the many benefits needs of every generation of employees — to help them achieve financial well-being through each stage of life,” said Heather Lavallee, CEO, Voya Financial. “This research speaks to the importance of helping meet the unique needs of workers nearing or at traditional retirement ages through workplace benefits — and supporting their employees’ immediate needs, while helping them to prepare for retirement, whenever that may occur.”
In a shift in how traditional retirement is prepared for and viewed, respondents indicated the education, guidance and workplace benefits that would be most helpful to them as they extend their employment and work toward retirement, including:
“While stereotypes persist about older workers and their contributions to the productivity and cost of an employer’s workforce, the fact that more people over 65 are employed — due to a variety of population and social factors — is well established,” said Jessica Tuman, vice president of Voya Cares and Voya Financial’s ESG Practice Centers of Excellence. “Employers who are challenged by a tight labor market need to look no further than their own workforce to help ease the shortage of workers.”
The results of the study also provide insight into four distinct Employment Extender profiles highlighting differences in motivations for continuing to work and needs as they extend their employment:
The full research paper with expanded findings is available at easterseals.com/mediaroom and voyacares.com/aging. Additional resources and a video summary are also available on voyacares.com/aging.
Commissioned by Voya Cares in collaboration with Easterseals, Edge Research conducted a national survey in August 2022 of 1,062 “Employment Extenders.” Half this group is composed of adults 50 and older who previously retired from one career but are still working at another job today; and the other half is composed of adults who are at least 65 years old and currently do/plan to work past retirement age, retiring at age 70 or later or not at all. All are working full- or part-time and are benefits eligible. Survey respondents were recruited through an online non-probability sample. With all online surveys, findings are not projectable to the larger population. To learn more about these audiences, qualitative in-depth interviews were conducted in September and October 2022 with 16 individuals using the same criteria as in the quantitative portion of the study.
Easterseals is leading the way to full equity, inclusion, and access through life-changing disability and community services. For more than 100 years, we have worked tirelessly with our partners to enhance quality of life and expand local access to healthcare, education, and employment opportunities. And we won’t rest until every one of us is valued, respected, and accepted. Through our national network of Affiliates, Easterseals provides essential services and on-the-ground supports to more than 1.5 million people each year – from early childhood programs for the critical first five years, to autism services, medical rehabilitation and employment programs, veterans’ services, and more. Our public education, policy, and advocacy initiatives positively shape perceptions and address the urgent and evolving needs of the one in four Americans living with disabilities today. Together, we’re empowering people with disabilities, families, and communities to be full and equal participants in society. Learn more at www.easterseals.com.
About Voya Financial®
Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), is a leading health, wealth and investment company with 7,200 employees. Through products, solutions and technologies, Voya helps its 14.3 million individual, workplace and institutional clients become well planned, well invested and well protected. Benefitfocus, a newly joined Voya company, extends Voya’s workplace benefits and savings reach and capabilities by providing benefits administration capabilities to 16.5 million individual subscription employees across employer and health plan clients. Certified as a “Great Place to Work” by the Great Place to Work® Institute, Voya is purpose-driven and equally committed to conducting business in a way that is socially, environmentally, economically and ethically responsible. Voya has earned recognition as: one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies® by the Ethisphere Institute; a member of the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index; and a “Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion” on the Disability Equality Index. For more information, visit voya.com. Follow Voya Financial on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter @Voya.
About Voya Cares®
The Voya Cares program is committed to being a leader in making a positive difference in the lives of individuals with special needs and disabilities — as well as their families, caregivers and other providers — by offering a depth of resources focused on education, planning and solutions. Go to voyacares.com to learn more.