More than one-quarter of older Massachusetts residents said they or someone they know has experienced age discrimination in the workplace, according to survey released Thursday by AARP.
The survey, which reflects results of conversations with 400 people, is evidence of the need to strengthen laws protecting older workers, AARP said. In particular, older workers who lose their jobs are finding it difficult to land new employment, according to Debbie Chalfie, AARP’s senior legislative representative. A Government Accountability Office report in May showed that of 1.1 million people over age 55 who are out of work, more than half have been unable to find a job for six months. Another 42 percent have been out of work for more than a year.
The numbers show the challenge for older workers who find they need to work longer in order to save enough for retirement.
“People are rightly concerned about their future retirement security. It is probably the case that many will need to work beyond when they had planned to retire, to get more savings built up,’’ Chalfie said. “But it’s also true that many people cannot continue to work.”
Sometimes people can’t work for health reasons. But others simply can’t find work, according to the AARP. Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research this week said that more than half of Americans will have to work past age 65 in order to be secure in their retirement. Many will have to work to at least 70. In the Massachusetts AARP survey, 22 percent of retirees said they need to return to work in order to pay their expenses.
“We think it’s absolutely critical that folks feel like they’ve got opportunities in the workplace,’’ regardless of age, Chalfie said.