This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

January 30, 2008

Older Workers in Greater Demand

According to the Robert Wood Johnson study titled "Wisdom at Work", one million people turn 60 years old each month. Life expectancy is now 77. Between now and 2010, the number of United States workers ages 55 to 64 will grow by over 50 percent. People are living longer in better health. Many will want to (and/or have to) keep working.

Recently, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) added three U.S. government agencies and six corporations to its list of employers looking to hire people 50 and older for a range of full-time, part-time, and seasonal jobs. In all, thirty-eight of the nation's employers have expressed an interest in hiring seniors.

The Internal Revenue Service, the Peace Corps, and the U.S. Small Business Administration's Office of Disaster Relief, are the first federal employers to join AARP's National Employer Team, the name given to the association's three-year-old partnership.

Of the two million people who work for the federal government, more than 25 percent are expected to leave over the next five years. In the next two years alone, The Partnership for Public Service estimates over 193,000 mission-critical positions will need filling.

More employers are becoming aware of the benefits of hiring older workers. "They recognize the fact that mature workers bring good experience and skills to the workplace", said Deborah Russell, AARP's director of workforce issues. "More importantly, some recognize this is a labor pool they will have to pull from", added Russell. These jobs are simply not appealing to younger workers.

Many employers, in both the private and the public sectors, have enjoyed lower turnover rates among their more mature workers. Further motivating these employers, about 69 percent of Baby Boomers (born 1946 to 1964) plan to work past the traditional retirement age of 65---mostly due to the high cost of healthcare and insufficient savings.

This trend is representative of what we expected to see among employers in 2008---employers' increasing interest in older workers for their stability and experience. Unable to find younger workers to handle the less-exciting jobs, we anticipate even more employers turning to older workers.

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