CPL plans to serve as a bridge between employers seeking needed talent and people 50+ who have the capabilities and desire to continue working with employers as well as in entrepreneurial or other activities.
Human Resource Services, Inc (HRS) was organized by Bill Zinke in June 1969 as a management consulting firm to assist employers on a broad range of human resource (HR) services. He was a progenitor of the term “human resources” in 1968, while Vice President-Industrial Relations at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), not only to replace the tired terms of Personnel/Employee Relations/Industrial Relations, but also to stimulate companies to horizontally integrate the sub-functions in place of the vertically-managed sub-functions then in effect. His proposal was voted down in a meeting of the NAM Industrial Relations Committee, which he views as his most successful defeat.
Having beaten the drum for ten years since leaving the NAM, Bill organized a national survey on the “Current Status and Future Direction of Human Resources Management in U.S. Industry” in 1979 that was sponsored by 20 major companies ranging alphabetically from AT&T to Xerox. The results dramatically demonstrated that HR had moved from administration toward a center-stage role, with the more-advanced companies adopting the term “Human Resources” and the HR head reporting to the CEO.
As a result, Bill was asked at a meeting with the HR heads of ten major U.S. companies to organize a group of 30-40 HR heads to meet twice yearly, with a focus on strategic HR issues. The Human Resources Round Table Group (HRRG), now in its 35th year, presently consists of HR of 65 heads in major multinational companies around the world.
As the oldest of the 78 million Baby Boomers were approaching retirement, Bill recognized the impact on strategic workforce planning and the issue began to be discussed in the latter 1990s in HRRG meetings. In 1999, he co-authored a paper with Dr. Elliott Jaques, titled “The Evolution of Adulthood: A New Stage”, that was delivered by Dr. Jaques in 2000 at an event organized by HRS in Washington, DC in June 2000, “Meeting the Employment Needs of the 21st Century: National Conference on the Economic and Social Impact of Demographic Change.” The paper proposed that, because 30 years were added to longevity from beginning to end of the 20th century, a new and third stage of adulthood from 62 to 85 should be added to the traditional two stages from 18 to 40 and 40 to 62 or 65.
An excellent range of other speakers included:
- Senator John B. Breaux, Ranking Minority Member, Senate Special Committee on Aging
- Peter G. Peterson, Chairman, The Blackstone Group
- Dr. Christine Cassel, Chairman Henry L. Schwartz Department of Adult Development, Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Professor of Geriatrics and Internal Medicine
- Sara E. Rex, Senior Policy Advisor, Economics Team, AARP Public Policy Institute
Examples of the media coverage are included in Material of Interest on the website. A book, Working Through Demographic Change: How Older Americans Can Sustain the Nation’s Prosperity, based on the edited Conference presentations and material contributed by Dr. Robert Butler and others, was published in early 2001. Senator John Breaux (D-LA), distributed copies of the book to every member of Congress with a cover letter signed by him.
The Silicon Valley bubble that burst in March 2001, precipitating a recession, blocked HRS from achieving its stated objectives, and it moved to the sidelines until a better time. With a booming U.S. economy in 2006, CPL organized a second event in June 2007 as the launching platform for the newly- created Center for Productive Longevity, National Conference on the New Human Resources Frontier: Utilizing Older Workers for Competitive Advantage. Despite the impending global economic crisis that started in the latter part of 2007. CPL published a book in 2008 based largely on the Conference proceedings. Again, we had an excellent range of speakers, including:
- Dr. John W. Rowe, Department of Health Policy and Management, Columbia University; former Chairman and CEO, Aetna, Inc; Director, MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Successful Aging, co-author of Successful Aging (Dell Publishing 1998)
- Susan R. Meisinger, President, Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
- John P. Martin, Director of Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
- Humphrey J.F. Taylor, Chairman, The Harris Poll
Major U.S. companies eliminated 4.4 million jobs in the following period through year-end 2012, while companies with less than 100 employees created 60 percent of the new jobs during that period. With continued high unemployment and low economic growth projected for the foreseeable future, CPL took the initiative of planning and organizing a series of meetings in 2012 on the opportunities of entrepreneurship for Baby Boomers 50+ that were held as follows:
Four One-Day Meetings Held in 2012
As the result of a visit by Bill Zinke to the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City in 2011, a focal point for entrepreneurship in America, CPL organized four meetings in different parts of the U.S. in 2012 titled “Spotlight on Entrepreneurship Opportunities for Baby Boomers”, as follows:
- March 27 at the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, MO
- September 14 at Babson College in Wellesley, MA
- October 11 at the Chicago campus of Northwestern University/Kellogg School of Management
- November 15 at the University of Denver-University College
In holding these events in different parts of the U.S., our objective was to contribute to a national momentum for substantially increased entrepreneurship among people 50+. The recognition that this is an imperative is underscored by the following quote from an excellent book by Jim Clifton, Chairman of Gallup, titled The Coming Jobs War (Gallup Press 2011, page 2).
“Of the 7 billion people on Earth, there are 5 billion adults aged 15 and older. Of these 5 billion, 3 billion tell Gallup they work or want to work. Most of these people need a full-time formal job. The problem is that there are currently only 1.2 billion full-time, formal jobs in the world. This is a potentially devastating global shortfall of about 1.8 billion good jobs. It means that global unemployment for those seeking a formal good job with a paycheck and 30+ hours of steady work approaches a staggering 50%, with another 10% wanting part-time work.
This also means that potential societal stress and instability lies within 1.8 billion-nearly a quarter of the world’s population.”
National Conference on the Entrepreneurship Imperative for Engaging People 50 and Older
As a natural progression from the four meetings in 2012, CPL held a successful event at the National Press Club in Washington, DC on November 7, 2013 titled National Conference on the Entrepreneurship Imperative for People 50 and Older. This event brought together thought leaders from the public, private, academic and non-profit sectors to engage in discussion and dialogue on the present status of entrepreneurship in America as well as a Framework for Plan of Action, which list the steps that are required to stimulate substantially more entrepreneurship.
It is important to note the driving forces for the National Conference. They are listed as follows:
- The U.S. has a large and growing number of workers 50+, who have reached or are moving toward retirement age, but is faced with a smaller number of younger people entering the workforce; it is imperative that this talent pool of workers 50+ be utilized to a substantially greater extent.
- People 50+ have experience, expertise, seasoned judgment and proven performance that enable many of them to continue adding value.
- In these challenging times, with high unemployment and low economic growth projected for the foreseeable future, creating a new business is a bright spot on a gloomy employment horizon for people 50+.
- Women represent 51 percent of the U.S. population, but only 30 percent of entrepreneurs; this representation should be substantially increased.
- Enabling people 50+ to continue working is not only beneficial to them but also contributes to increased employment and economic growth on the national level.
- With increased longevity and government social programs that have significantly outdated retirement ages, it is an imperative that people 50+ continue working beyond traditional retirement age so that they can contribute to the country’s economic growth instead of sitting on the sidelines and drawing from the economy.
- Documented research (e.g. MacArthur Foundation Study on Aging in America) demonstrates that people 50+ who continue working enjoy better health, report greater satisfaction with life, and live more than four years longer than those who don’t.
- Having the large and growing number of people 50+ sitting on the sidelines, instead of enabling a substantial number to remain productively engaged where they are qualified and ready to do so, would require major changes in unsustainable social programs that could result in social unrest.
- At a time when life spans have been substantially increased, it is essential that we change the pervasive mindset that people 50+ should be moved to the sidelines when they reach a certain age (pick 55, 60 or 65) regardless of their ability to continue adding value.
- The time is now for the U.S. to recognize the transformational impact of demographic change and to review laws/regulations/policies/programs regarding entrepreneurship, as well as other ways people 50+ can be productively engaged.
- There is a growing recognition that, with their substantially-increased longevity, people 50+ can continue in productive activities into their 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond.
- The pervasive thinking that younger people 20-34 create the largest number of new businesses and are most successful at doing so is mistaken because annual surveys sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation over the past 17 years demonstrate that people 50-64 in the U.S. created over 60 percent more new businesses than people 20-34; the older people also had a better success rate.
The following is the Framework for Call to Action, which was discussed and approved by participants at the National Conference:
- Develop laws, regulations, policies and programs to provide an environment that encourages and supports entrepreneurship
- Provide financial, tax and other incentives that stimulate and encourage entrepreneurship
- Stimulate and support the development of education and training programs for start-up
entrepreneurs 50+ that strengthen the range of skills and abilities that will be required for their ongoing success
- Stimulate and support the development of courses and programs in academia that are
specifically focused on education and training of people 50+ to become entrepreneurs because they learn differently than younger people
- Incorporate a focus on entrepreneurship in economics, business, and other courses at the secondary and tertiary educational levels
- Build more collaboration between public, private and academic sectors to develop networks, research parks, incubators and other vehicles that will support the needs and interests of startup and early-stage entrepreneurs
- Create or restructure non-profits to provide a greater focus on entrepreneurs 50+, with an emphasis focus on attracting women to become entrepreneurs