On the Subject of Older Workers

I use Google Alerts quite extensively to keep up-to-date on a number of topics.  What a surprise yesterday when I received notice of 3 articles, 2 recent and 1 older, about the value of older boomer and senior workers.  So often you read all the myths/reasons that companies cannot, or are unwilling to even consider, recruiting older employees.  (remember that older is relative)  You’ll hear more from me in future posts about these “supposed” reasons for not utilizing this growing workforce

But I digress. The first article – Oldies can be goodies when it comes to workers’ mind set, by Tom Johnson – of the New Jersey Star-Ledger quotes Douglas Klein President of Sirota Survey Intelligence:

Sirota Survey Intelligence, a firm specializing in attitude research, says businesses should more carefully consider older workers as part of their hiring plans, especially now in a tight economy, when each new hire takes on greater importance.

Older workers — 63 and up — bring a higher level of satisfaction, pride and willingness to go the “extra mile” to their jobs than younger generations, Sirota’s research found. They also express the strongest satisfaction with their compensation.

Higher satisfaction, pride and extra mile are the myth busters that enlightened employers should consider. Read the entire article at: http://www.nj.com/business

The second article – Older workers make good employees – was published by the thehammontonnews.com.   The article starts with “It’s a myth that has to be strongly denied — senior workers are not physically able to work because they are vulnerable to sudden illness or injuries on the job!“. But here is the troubling part for boomers and seniors as the article continues: ” But destroying that myth is not easy, because there are some employers who won’t hire older workers, being fearful of the liability of sudden illness and injury. An endless flow of articles and literature emphasizes that there is a need for older workers, but there exists a bias against older people entering the work force except for minimal jobs as receptionists.

The article continues: “On the con scene is a view from Peter Capelli, director of the Center for Human Resources at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. He said, “The biggest obstacle, experts say, is that companies are reluctant to retain or hire older workers. At the top of the corporate ladder, executive recruiters are routinely told not to seek any one over 50.” Similar sentiments can be found across the country, and he points to a batch of evidence around the nation, states Capelli.” Read the entire article at: http://www.thehammontonnews.com

And the third article – Not Ready To Quit – by William Underhill and Temma Ehrenfeld published in the November ’07 issue of Newsweek is encouraging.  There are a number of companies that are leading the nation in recognizing the value of the boomer, senior and retiree talent pool.   An excerpt from the article: “The impetus to employ older workers is especially strong in skills-scarce industries like technology and health care. Companies such as Hoffman-La Roche, Cigna, Mitre and Aerospace have established retiree temp pools with formal legal and compensation arrangements. In 2003, P&G and Eli Lilly founded YourEncore, a kind of employment agency for retired scientists and engineers that matches its 4,000 global “experts” to temporary needs at 23 member companies.” Read the entire article at: http://www.newsweek.com

In summary, these small positives are encouraging. There are more companies embracing the boomer and senior job seekers. Let me know if you are one of those companies or have personal experience with one. Let’s see how big the list can get.



  1. Peter Marx

    The Department of Defense is probably the biggest advocate of helping senior veterans to find employment before they retire. There are Transition Assistance Programs (TAP) at just about all bases. They provide job search info, including how to deal with age discrimination and salary negotiating. Included in their info are website links to veteran friendly companies.
    One of the most extensive links I’ve found is at http://www.military.com. Just key word “military friendly companies” in their search block and jump back!

    P.S. Transition Assistance Programs provide employment services as a lifetime benefit to retirees.

  2. Phyllis Adams

    I never felt “old” until I lost my job…I spent 32 yrs associated with the same (largest insurance co) company… I have no college degree, do not speak spanish (live in Miami) live alone.. daugs nearby with own families..I cannot afford to retire.
    Job loss was sudden and very unexpected. Insurance is only interested in young
    aggresive people…where does this leave “us”. After taking care of our jobs and
    families throughout the years..helping family with their problems..co-signing when
    needed and watching our credit tank due to irresponsibility on the part of others beyond or control after the fact, we are sent out to pasture…I am not ready to retire and resent being “too old or not qualified to do what I should be entitled to do
    ..continue to work if I want. I sound bitter and I hate that..sorry.

  3. J. Hunt


    I so identify with your plight. I am a 57 year old female who worked for a multinational telecommunications company for 16 years and was let go in 2004 due to downsizing or so I was told. Since then I have been unable to find a job, even the temp services have stopped calling as of late. I have not worked (temp) since February 2008 and my unemployment is running out shortly. I have a home and have pretty much depleted my savings paying the mortgage, light, gas, insurance and water bill. I would sell my house and apply for senior living if I could, but as you know the market is pretty much shut down. I am not old enough to retire, but for some reason I am too old to find a job.
    I wake up afraid and worried and I go to bed the same way. It takes me hours to fall asleep. I apply for jobs everyday and never get a reply back.

  4. Michael LaRocca

    I was getting kinda close to 50 myself before I finally moved into a hiring position. I’ve spent 10 years editing from home using the Internet. When I finally reached the point of needing help, the over-50 crowd were my salvation.

    Editing is often excellent work. But at other times, well, an editor can get mired down in a much crappier job than expected. Older workers know that a promise means something, and that dumping a job just because it’s super-annoying is a bit unfair to everyone who’s counting on it being done.

    Some of my workers quit outright. Others did such crappy work that I had to go behind them and fix more errors than they did, for my little 10% commission. The unfairness of that has always been lost on some people, but in my particular case, it was never lost on my older workforce. When I sacked the unreliable workers, I found that I was the youngest worker still standing, at age 46.

    Oh, and as of about five months ago, my wife turned 50. I think I’ll keep her around too. 🙂

  5. Michael LaRocca

    Almost six years after the above comment, I’m over 50 and my business is still thriving.

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