Why Hire Seniors and Retirees?

by Art Koff

Hire seniors for project assignments or part-time and save on healthcare costs.

According to an Internet-based survey conducted by Thomas Regional, of the nearly 2,500 industrial small businesses owners surveyed nationwide, 63% of the respondents state that healthcare coverage is their biggest challenge. Hiring seniors to work part-time or on temporary assignments in most cases saves health care benefits costs.

Medicare benefits kick in at age 65, so insurance benefits become less of an incentive for retirees; yet, surveys have shown that people eligible to

collect pensions and Social Security do not necessarily want to quit working. Many retirees continue working but seek decreased and/or flexible hours. According to BSL figures 54% of workers over 65 are employed part-time.

When firms employing less than 20 employees hiring seniors on Medicare for full-time

positions, Medicare can be the primary insurer and the employer's insurance can be secondary. This means substantial savings in insurance premiums.

A 2003 SHRM survey indicates that 68% of the organizations employ older workers;

however only 41% specifically target older workers in their recruitment efforts. The survey also indicated that reasons for hiring older workers included their willingness to work a flexible schedule, their ability to serve as mentors and their invaluable experience.

Other reasons included their reliability and strong work ethic.

Why recruit retired workers?

From Tapping the Mature Workforce: An Overview & Recommendations

By Lori Bittner, Mature Market Group, part of J Walter Thompson

  • Quality customer service experience
  • Stability
  • Ability to initiate sales and transaction dependability
  • Eagerness to provide support and guidance
  • Superior communication skills
  • Varied work experience
  • Better ability to work with mature clientele
  • An old-fashioned work ethic

Recent studies conducted by AARP and reports published by The United States General Accounting Office identify the mature employee’s greatest assets (compared to younger demographics) as:

  • Lower absenteeism
  • Less likelihood to change jobs
  • Superior customer service skills
  • More eager to learn new skills
  • Punctuality
  • Commitment to quality
  • Better people skills
  • Positive attitude

Quote from Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao

"Nowhere is the case stronger for tapping the strengths of older workers than with employers facing the skills gap. Everywhere I go, employers tell me they are having difficulty finding workers with the right skill sets for the jobs they have to offer."

This adds up to a golden opportunity to turn a challenge—the approaching retirement of an unprecedented number of Americans—into a win-win scenario for our economy and our workforce.

From an AARP article

Part of the problem for older job seekers today lies in a number of persistent myths that prejudice some employers against them. Here are three of the most pervasive and damaging myths about older workers you should know are untrue:

  1. Myth: Older workers use medical benefits more than other groups and raise the cost of medical insurance premiums for everyone.

    Reality: Seniors often use medical benefits less than some other age groups. Parents of younger children are the most frequent users and contribute more directly to increased premium rates.

  2. Myth: Older workers miss a lot of work.

    Reality: Senior workers have excellent attendance records, because they seldom miss work for personal reasons other than legitimate illness.

  3. Myth: Older learners can't learn new techniques and new technologies.

    Reality: The capacity to learn isn't a function of age. If you are skeptical, check out the growing number of senior citizens going back to college and getting advanced degrees every year.

CONTINUED 1   2   Next >

About the Author: Art Koff is the founder of www.RetiredBrains.com a suite of sites designed to assist employers connect with experienced "retired brains" who are not interested in being fully retired. He started his career with the Chicago Sun Times after which he spent 35 years in recruitment communications with both national and international agencies. He helped develop and market one of the first automated job posting systems which was acquired by a major player in the field. He also helped build a suite of over 1000 discipline specific and geographic specific niche job sites focused on recruiting and has assisted employers develop cost effective recruiting strategies utilizing the Internet to reach seniors and retirees and make their workforce more diverse.

Art has appeared on NBC several times and been quoted as an authority on new developments that effect recruiting in both national publications and on Web sites. He has just finished his first book, Invent Your Retirement Resources for the Good Life,published by Oakhill Press. The book is a complete reference guide for boomers and seniors planning their retirement, retirees and people who have responsibility for parents and grandparents who are retiring or retired. For information and to learn more about the book, go to www.RetiredBrains.com