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How to Find Firms That Value Older Workers

Openings are there because of new worker shortage

By Encore.org | July 13, 2012

Experts say there's a coming workforce talent gap.

The concern is when boomers begin to leave their jobs, there won't be enough younger workers to fill the openings.

This projected void is prompting many firms to start thinking about how to attract and retain experienced workers.

CareerBuilder.com offers helpful tips for evaluating how age friendly companies are in “Finding a Great Job if You’re Over 50” by Kate Lorenz. She cites the following advice from AARP’s director of economic security, Deborah Russell:

Examine the company's recruitment practices. You can learn a lot about a company by how and where it recruits employees, as well as what its recruitment materials look like. Is the company recruiting at a variety of job fairs? Is it open to applications from all workers? Does it have a formal program to offer positions to retired workers? Can you see a variety of ages represented in company brochures and other branded materials?

Ask about advancement opportunities and training. AARP found that many of the best companies for older workers have special programs in place to provide employees with advanced and ongoing training, help employees move positions within the company and offer career counseling. These programs help older workers keep important skills up-to-date. Some companies even offer online courses for employees, which enable older workers to take courses at their own pace.

Research the company's benefits. While you might not be able to find out everything about a company's benefits in the early interview process, you can research the company's Web site and other materials to find out what benefits it offers. Many of the companies on the AARP's list have benefits that are particularly attractive to older workers, such as allowing 401(k) "catch-up" contributions and time off to care for dependents beyond what is required by law. Some also offer phased retirement programs, and several hospitals on the list offer health care services either at a discount or at no cost to employees covered under company health plans.

Examine the overall company image. Take a look at all company collateral and its Web site. What is the image the company is portraying? Also, look around the company when you are interviewing. Do you see other older workers? Ask about the company's mission and goals. Russell says it is important to determine if the company values its workforce, not just its bottom line.


This article was originally published by Encore.org on Nov 20, 2008.