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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Two global mega-trends — automation and aging — are coming together to upend the future of work.

Why it matters: The world is aging, and older people are a larger share of the global population than ever. But a critical lack of job retraining programs targeting workers over 50 is putting this growing population at risk, per a new report from the research arm of professional services firm Marsh & McLennan.

The state of play: Older workers are under-appreciated in the global workforce, says Yvonne Sonsino, one of the report's contributors.

  • In 2015, workers over 50 contributed $7.6 trillion to the American economy, and that's projected to go up to $13.5 trillion by 2032.
  • But the average older worker in the U.S. is working a job that's more than 50% automatable — meaning over half of the tasks included in the job can eventually be done by a machine. These occupations include everything from heavy manufacturing jobs to clerical, back-office work.
  • Most upskilling and reskilling programs — whether at community colleges or through boot camps — are geared toward younger people. But it's actually cheaper to train older workers who have decades of experience in the workforce than it is to train new graduates, the researchers found. In the U.K., for example, the government spends around $840 per learner aged 25–49, compared to around $420 per learner aged 50–74.

The bottom line: Just 4% of companies around the globe surveyed by the World Economic Forum in 2016 say they see the value in investing in their older employees.

Go deeper: Robots are stepping in to help solve the worker shortage driven by aging

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.

Alabama's new congressional map rejected by federal judges

The Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery. Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Federal judges on Monday night blocked Alabama's newly drawn congressional map and ordered the Republican-led State Legislature to create a new one that includes two districts, rather than the planned one.

Why it matters: "Black voters have less opportunity than other Alabamians to elect candidates of their choice to Congress," the panel of three judges wrote in their ruling.

Australian Open organizers reverse "Where is Peng Shuai?" t-shirt ban

Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai during the 2020 Australian Open in Melbourne. Photo: Bai Xue/Xinhua via Getty Images

Australian Open organizers on Tuesday reversed a ban on t-shirts supporting Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai following widespread criticism.

Why it matters: Tennis Australia's announcement came less than 24 hours after the governing body defended the decision to ask fans last Friday to remove "Where is Peng Shuai?" t-shirts, citing ticket policy prohibiting political clothing, per the BBC.