A recent study published by AARP revealed that more Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) workers aged 40 and up want meaningful jobs and a better work-life balance as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Published in January 2023, the study, titled “Understanding a Changing Older Workforce: An Examination of Asian American and Pacific Islander Workers Ages 40-Plus,” revealed that 81% of AAPI worker respondents believed that their job is “an important part” of who they are.
About 94% of those who participated said that a meaningful job was a requirement before agreeing to the work.
While most older AAPI workers see their job as part of who they are, even more seek employment with meaning – for some, this priority is a result of the pandemic. A more common change brought about by the pandemic is the desire for more work-life balance.
The study, which is part of a report that examined the general population of workers ages 40-plus, involved 693 AAPI workers out of the total 2,000 workers from the general population survey.
The advocacy group, formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons, asked the respondents 67 questions online in a self-administered survey via web or mobile phone.
Detailing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic among older AAPI workers, the AAPR study noted that 36% want a better work-life balance, while 14% said they want to “retire earlier.”
According to the study, 42% of AAPI workers who responded to the survey are caregivers of an adult, while 35% are caregivers of a child, 52% of whom said it was their own children.
The report noted that more than half of respondents, 58%, have taken job-related measures for caregiving, such as working remotely (39%), using all of their sick/vacation leave (24%), changing hours worked at the job (23%) and reducing the number of hours worked (18%).
AAPI workers also noted that they had faced challenges in their workplace, with the vast majority of respondents listing age discrimination (59%) and racial discrimination (53%).
As many as 36% of respondents said they had experienced at least one instance of age discrimination, whether their experience was “not respected or valued” (13%), they were not offered career growth opportunities (11%) or their input was ignored (11%).
As AARP noted in its implications for the study, promoting flexibility for workers who are looking for a better work-life balance can “help increase productivity as well as job satisfaction.”
Employers should also recognize and find ways to mitigate burnout from workers who are also caregivers, such as offering them paid leaves, which would then maintain productivity in the company.
Having an age-diverse workforce would also benefit companies, AARP said.
Diversity can enhance innovation and creativity, resulting in improved team functioning and performance. In addition, an inclusive and respectful workplace culture also can help attract older workers, since the majority believe that age does not limit their ability to work.