Around the globe, the workforce is aging and the effects of this on the labor market are readily apparent.

Today, 56 percent of respondents in a recent Randstad survey believe that keeping older workers in the workforce is crucial for success. On the other hand, though, 78 percent believe that the secret to long-term success is attracting younger workers just entering the job market.

The latter school of thought is backed by an assumption that job prospects for young workers will balloon in the next several years. Here's what you need to know about the future or job prospects for older workers, and the growing gap in skill sets:

what the focus on STEM careers means for older workers

According to Randstad's "Flexibility@Work 2016: the Future of Work in the Digital Age" publication, the demand for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) skills is skyrocketing. You can find the full "Flexibility@Work 2016" report here:


Today, companies are feeling the rumbles of this increased focus on STEM positions: 60 percent of Randstad Workmonitor respondents around the globe say that filling STEM positions is a challenge for employers, and 54 percent believe that closing the skills gap is the only way to solve the problem.

While this may be music to the ears of younger workers, it can present a problem for older workers. 68 percent of respondents believe that older employees have more trouble acquiring new skills, and whether or not this is true, it's damaging to the job prospects of older employees.

Luckily, companies around the world (including Randstad) are working to change this. For example, Randstad Netherlands recently launched a national program known as +POWER

Through this program, Randstad provides assistance and support for older workers through education, efforts to remove biases, and support in the job search process.

the future of the job market: 4 observations

To understand the future of the job market, consider some findings from Randstad's recent survey:

1. employee job outlook remains stable

For the third quarter in a row, the number of employees expected to find another position within the next six months hovered at 109. The outlook has grown in some countries, such as Italy and Portugal. The reason for the increase in Italy relates to expected economic recovery while the rise in Portugal relates to economic recovery, as well.

2. more employees are changing jobs

The number of employees who changed jobs in the last six months grew to 24 percent, a one-percent increase over the previous quarter. This is true everywhere except Brazil, Japan, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Norway, Slovakia and Switzerland, where the job change rate has decreased.

3. more people want to change jobs

In places like China, Greece, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand and Slovakia, the number of people who want to change jobs has grown in the previous quarter. In places like Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Poland, Portugal, Singapore and the Netherlands, however, a decrease has appeared.

4. the countries with the highest job satisfaction rates are still India and Mexico

While job satisfaction decreased in Argentina, Denmark, Japan, Austria, Hungary, Germany, Spain, Greece, Portugal and Switzerland, India and Mexico remain steady as the countries with the highest job satisfaction rates.

moving forward

As the job market continues to evolve, it's clear that decreasing biases against older employees while simultaneously closing the skills gap will be critical to building job satisfaction and creating a more equal work environment in the coming years.