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Employers Save by Hiring Older Workers
(January 9, 2009) With the ups and downs in demand in 2008 employers are finding it difficult to cost effectively fill openings; particularly when these positions might cease to exist in the months to come.
One solution adopted by a number of companies is to hire experienced older workers and retirees on a temporary or project basis. On-boarding and off-boarding costs are minimal and there is a large group of retirees that have found they must work to maintain the lifestyle they had planned for their retirement years. Also, in most cases, employers need not pay benefits for these kinds of assignments.
Inflation has eroded retiree purchasing power. Housing values are down as are portfolio values and the huge costs of health care, even after Medicare kicks in, has prompted large numbers of retirees to seek ways to supplement their income. At least one in four older Americans are either postponing their retirement or seeking to return to the workforce while 4 in 10 employers have designed programs to encourage late-career workers to stay past their traditional retirement age. It seems both older workers and employers are on the same page here. It also looks like the situation can only get worse for employers as there are not enough Gen Xers to fill the jobs of the boomers who decide to retire in the coming years.
Employers are beginning to find that some of their most valuable long term employees are beginning to leave. These are the veterans that most employers can't afford to lose. The professionals in accounting, finance, marketing, engineering, supply chain, operations, research and human resources that understand the company culture and basically can't be replaced. According to Gerry Crispin of CareerXroads "when they leave, the firm's institutional memory will be reset to zero and many firms will take serious financial hits without ever knowing why". Crispin goes on to say "And the boomers...they ARE leaving! Don't kid yourself. They may be leaving to go work for another firm in a lower level less stressful position to make ends meet but they are leaving and most employers are unprepared."
The list below represents some of the kinds of older workers that are most commonly sought by employers. Many for temporary (holiday, weekend, after hours, seasonal work, etc.) or project based assignments, and some for full-time employment if they can convince older works to stay on or return to work on this basis.
Pharmacists (part-time & temporary)
Nurses & health care professionals (part-time & temporary)
Accountants (for tax season)
Call center & help desk
Retail sales clerks (during the holidays)
Fast food & restaurant help
Hotel/hospitality jobs like front desk & concierge
School bus drivers
Art Koff is a senior in his 70's who founded RetiredBrains.com in 2003 as a destination for older boomers, seniors and retirees that contains a free job board connecting older workers with employers interested in hiring them.
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Article Correction: 2040 had an incorrect number and a number missing. The corrected chart is below and in the original article.
BLS: Older Population by Age Group
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by John Sumser
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