Companies Act to Retain Boomer Workers

Last Updated Sep 5, 2007 12:52 PM EDT

Companies Act to Retain Boomer WorkersNext year the oldest of the baby boomers will turn 62 and become eligible for Social Security payments. That's 78.2 million workers approaching retirement. While the reluctance to hire older workers is well-documented (one 2005 study found that job applicants under age 50 were 42% more likely to be called for interviews than those over 50) , some companies recognize that older workers carry with them a wealth of experience and knowledge. These firms, loath to lose boomer workers and fearing a coming labor shortage, are taking measures to retain older workers. The LA Times reports:
  • At CVS pharmacies, more than 1,000 employees take part in a "snowbird" program that allows them to migrate between stores in different parts of the country as the seasons change.
  • Massachusetts General Hospital now provides lengthier training for older nurses who wish to return to their occupation but are no longer current with the latest technology.
The AARP also compiles a list of the best employers for workers over 50 every year and considers, among other criteria, opportunities for training, workplace accommodations, and flexible scheduling or phased retirement. All of which are good strategies if you're looking to make your company friendly to those approaching retirement.

The strategies are worth looking into as older employees can offer more than experience. Managers at CVS, for instance, claim that "older workers sometimes are friendlier to customers and have a better work ethic than their younger counterparts." In some retail sectors, managers believe that boomer workers better understand their customers. Borders Group, for example, recognizing that over half of book buyers are over 45, has increased its efforts to hire middle-age workers.

If some of your most knowledgeable workers are getting perilously close to retirement, consider what measures might help your company retain these boomer employees and their wealth of experience.

(Image of retirement cake by Peter Kaminski, CC 2.0)

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    Jessica lives in London where she works as a freelance writer with interests in green business and tech, management, and marketing.