The Value of the Mature Worker

Seniors with computers
According to Alicia H. Munnell and Steven A. Sass in their newly published book, “Working Longer: The Solution to the Retirement Income Challenge,” about 19 percent of men and 33 percent of women who survive to age 65 will live to age 90 or older and have to support themselves for almost 30 years. A review in The New York Times by Harry Hurt II, states that the basic thesis of the book is that we all need to work longer and retire later.

We have a looming retirement income crises. The authors’ suggestion for dealing with it is for people to postpone their retirement from 63, the current average age, to 66. The big question is “Will Employers Want to Employ Older Workers?” The short answer is “probably not” according to the authors. The authors state that “employers in the past have not been eager to retain or hire older workers and their is little indication that attitudes have significantly changed.”

I have a different opinion. In fact, I know that many employers are eager to hire mature workers. Some of them happen to be my clients. They are reaching out to older workers because they have needed skills, good judgment, institutional knowledge and reliable performance. They are also more likely to pass their   knowledge on to younger workers.

According to a number of web sites I checked, the average turnover rate for private companies runs between 20 and 25 percent. Replacing those workers is a huge cost to companies. Mature workers are three times more likely to stay with one employer, said Robert Plotkin, CEO of Social Work prn, a staffing and education company for social workers.

It used to be thought that mature workers didn’t have the necessary computer skills. That gap is rapidly closing as boomers who have used computers for many years are now in their sixties. My mom is 80 and uses email, the internet and a variety of applications.

Many of my friends have elected for second careers now that they are in their fifties. And, more are telling me they want to do something that helps society. That should be good news to Mr. Plotkin who has hundreds of unfilled jobs for social workers.

The next time you are looking to hire for your company; you might want to take a look at the mature worker. Communicate that you are specifically looking for them and you just might be very happy that you did.

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