Last Call: Want to be a VIP at INBOUND? Our final VIP tier is almost sold out — get your ticket now!

Inbound

Living to 120: How Increased Longevity Will Transform Work and Careers

Living to 120: How Increased Longevity Will Transform Work and Careers

What if you could live to 120 years old?

This may sound like science fiction, but according to Melanie Goldey, CEO Tally Health, it could be our reality in the not-so-distant future. Goldey shared a stunning statistic: "We actually believe that the first person to live to 150 may have already been born."

Imagine a world where 60-year careers are the norm, where "retirement" becomes a series of sabbaticals and reinventions, and where five generations work side-by-side in the office. It may sound far-fetched, but as lifespans extend, this could be our new reality. 🌍💼

We'll explore how increased longevity might reshape traditional career trajectories, and what businesses must do to adapt to a workforce that stays on the job well past the current retirement age. Plus, we'll look at what individuals can do now to future proof their careers and health for a radically longer working life.

Ready to peek into a possible future where 120 is the new 80?


THE SCIENCE OF EXTENDING HEALTHY LIFESPAN

Tally Health helps translate the science behind aging and arm people with the tools to affect the way they age. Built using a machine learning model, the company has developed an epigenetic aging test that measures a person’s biological age — which can be different from chronological age based on a number of factors. A simple cheek swab provides a DNA sample which is analyzed to determine changes in gene expressions.

Remarkably, only 10% of longevity is determined by genetics, while 90% is driven by lifestyle influences. Goldey highlighted that changes in certain habits or routines can slow or even reverse epigenetic aging, including a plant-based diet, prioritizing sleep, managing stress, decreasing alcohol intake, and maintaining social connections.

You could luck out, you could have a family with a history of longevity, and that certainly helps, but over 90 percent of your aging is defined by your lifestyle choices and your environment.

An AI-based model trained on a large dataset helps Tally Health provide personalized recommendations for its members, who take tests every three months. Although still in its early stage, the longitudinal data that has been captured so far points to the group’s epigenetic age decreasing.

If it’s possible to slow or reverse aging, then it’s time to think about the broader effects of longevity.

LONGER LIVES, LONGER CAREERS?

If people begin to live longer, beyond 100 years, the idea of a 40-year career followed by retirement in your 60’s may become outdated. Living to 120 could mean that careers may span 60 or 80 years, meaning continuous reskilling and upskilling will be crucial to stay relevant. Expect more career transitions and pivots throughout these extended working lives.

Some forward-thinking companies are already taking steps to adapt to the reality of longer employee lifespans.

For example, BMW’s “Today for Tomorrow” program was created to support its aging workforce — this includes adapted workplaces and health and prevention resources that enable staff to maintain healthy lifestyles through retirement age. And Barclay’s “Bolder Apprenticeship” program specifically targets workers over 50 to offer training in digital skills and other areas to help older works reskill and remain competitive in the job market.

Maintaining cognitive health will be increasingly important to enable longer careers. As Goldey put it, "It's not just the traditional definition of how many years that you're disease free...to me, it's about how many vibrant years can you have?”

Adapting the workplace for a multigenerational workforce and combating ageism will also take center stage.

Why are we embarrassed when somebody asks, how old are you? Why do we feel like we have to lie about it? I mean, I think all of these things need to be flipped on their head.
HOW COMPANIES MUST ADAPT TO LONGER EMPLOYEE LIFESPANS

As employees live and work longer, businesses and organizations will need to rethink their approach to talent management, benefits, and retirement.

  • Continuous Learning and Development: With careers stretching six to eight decades, companies will need to invest more heavily in programs that keep employees’ skills current. Think, regular sabbaticals for learning, cross-training across departments, and ongoing education opportunities through in-person or e-learning.

  • Flexible Career Paths: Linear growth plans and fixed retirement ages will most likely give way to more personalized trajectories. Phased retirement plans, part-time or contract roles for workers in the later stages of their careers, and the ability to cycle in and out of the workforce may become the new norm.

  • Multigenerational Management and Mentoring: What will it be like to have a workforce that encompasses up to five generations? Companies will have to leverage the particular strengths and abilities of each age cohort and lean into two-way mentoring programs that will provide older and younger workers the opportunity to share their unique skills with each other. 

  • Enhanced Health and Wellbeing Benefits: to support longer, healthy working lives, employers will need to provide better benefits with an emphasis on preventative care, mental wellness, stress management, and physical fitness. 

With careers spanning 60+ years, we may see the rise of sabbaticals, "mini-retirements" and intentional breaks between career chapters to rest and reinvent.

But although the prospect of longer, more varied careers presents many exciting opportunities, it's important to note the potential challenges and downsides as well — increased competition with people staying in the workforce longer, potential for burnout with careers lasting decades, and potential exacerbation of income inequality, to name a few. It will be crucial for individuals, employers, and policymakers to prioritize continuous learning, mental and physical wellbeing, and equitable access to health-extending innovations as we navigate the transition to longer lifespans and careers.

TAKEAWAYS

If radically longer lifespans are a possibility, then how we think about age, work, and retirement will dramatically shift. This opens up exciting opportunities for people to pursue multiple careers, passions, and reinventions, but it will be crucial for individuals and employers to start preparing for this possible transformation. 

The prospect of living to 120 in good health presents an incredible opportunity to reimagine a life and career arc that would not have been possible a generation ago, but are we ready for it? Whether it’s investing in continuous learning and skill development, prioritizing health and well-being, planning financially for a longer career and extended retirement, or cultivating a growth mindset to embrace change and reinvention, how are you preparing? 

INBOUND Team

INBOUND Team

Providing year round news, trends and inspiration from the editorial desk of your favorite immersive experience.

Related Articles

Steven Bartlett at INBOUND 2023
Two people presenting a sports jersey. It says "Hubspot" with the number 23."

Join us in person at INBOUND 2024

INBOUND is THE place to up-level your skills, learn new tactics, meet new people to build your professional network, and take your career to new heights. Are you ready to build your future in the heart of Boston? Let’s Grow.
REGISTER NOW