With the advance of science and healthcare technology, people are expected to live longer. So, what does that mean for career longevity and the desire to work?

According to Stanford’s New Map of Life report, half of 5-year-olds today can expect to live to the age of 100, and that lifespan will become the norm for newborns by 2050.

People in the future will not age as they do now, as advanced technology will make the loss of mobility, eyesight, hearing, or fluctuating states of pain, more bearable or less severe. Treatments for diseases and illnesses like cancer, Alzheimer’s, or loss of cognitive functions like dementia, are better now and will only continue to improve.

However, the world has a largely “static view of what it means to age [that] distorts our perspectives about longevity in the future and overlooks the opportunity to change the trajectory of aging and associated costs, by starting now to redesign institutions, practices and norms so that they align with today’s reality, rather than last century’s,” according to the report.­­

That continued static view of age will only hinder the ability of the world to adapt to what the report says could be the start of a 60-year working lifespan. Humans today work until the age of 62 with an average of 40 years of working life. The report talks about redesigning the workplace to accommodate the change that will come in the next 30 years.

Making the workplace more accommodating for older people would be a start. Instead of viewing work as retirement or working, there can be more gradual ramps and off-ramps to entering or leaving the workforce. A flexible work schedule to accommodate different lifestyles such as family life or dealing with disabilities, which the pandemic has made clear is necessary, is also a recommendation in the report which cites flexible work as an incentive over increased pay.

The report also recommends universal childcare to make the 60-year working life more bearable, along with changes to tax and employment policies, and institution and government policies that drive people to retire or to an earlier retirement than they would have preferred.

“With appropriate employer and tax incentives, more workers can take a glide path and avoid the negative financial and health consequences that often come from going over the retirement cliff,” the report concludes.

A recent survey from Natixis Investment Managers found the average age Americans want to stop working is 62. Americans first become eligible for Social Security benefits at age 62.

Workers who wait to claim Social Security until full retirement age get 100% of the benefits they earned.