You’re over 50, or maybe you’ve reached the retirement age of 65, and you’ve decided through either necessity or sheer boredom that you want to re-enter the workplace.
You’re not alone. A recent AARP survey revealed that 27 percent of over 1,000 workers aged 45 and older who were surveyed admitted that they had postponed plans to retire due to the impact of the recent economic downturn. What’s more, nearly eight in 10 baby boomers said they plan to work into their retirement. Half of all AARP’s members are still employed, either at home or in the traditional workplace.
So are there really companies in today’s youth-obsessed culture that still value and hire older workers? The answer is yes, but you’ll have to do some digging to find them. A few suggestions to narrow down your search:
How are they recruiting talent? Check out where the company recruits employees. Review their job listings, their brochures and flyers. Visit them at job fairs. Talk to the people who work there to get a sense of how they attract new talent. Do they have a formal program for attracting retired workers? If the people in the brochures and on their website are all “youngsters,” you may have a slim chance of getting hired.
Training and advancement programs. Do they have special programs that help workers upgrade skills and knowledge? The best companies will have after-work programs and online classes that bring workers up to speed on new technology and computer software.
Do a benefits review. Dig into the company's brochure, annual reports and website to see what kinds of benefits it offers older workers. Some companies allow additional 401(k) contributions. Others will be open to time off to care for dependents in excess of what the law mandates. Look too, to see if they offer some sort of phased retirement programs. Consider the value of their healthcare package. If you’re well under 65, this can be particularly important.
Company culture. Some companies have a very youth-oriented company culture. They go kayaking and river boating. Everyone is under 35 and those that are older, are assigned to menial jobs—like janitor or security.
Check out AARP’s “age-friendly” employers. This AARP portal can help you find part-time, full-time and flex-time positions. You can drill down by both keyword and geographic area. You can target your job search within a radius of up to 50 miles. These age-friendly employers must maintain policies, practices and programs that meet the needs of people age 50 and up. As a job applicant, you’ll be judged solely on your proficiency, qualifications and what you can contribute to the job.
Sure times are tough, especially for seniors. But good, dignified jobs are out there, offered by companies that still value talent over youth.