Do you know someone who is over age 65 and still working? We do too. In fact, jobs for senior citizens are on the rise across America, and it’s a really good thing.
Back when Social Security and Medicare were created, 65 was the normal age at which people retire. More than half a century later though, things are very different.
First of all, medical advances have created longer life spans and a healthier group of elders. Far from the days of the Industrial Revolution, the type of jobs available in America today are less physical, making it easy to work forever or at least for many years past the typical retirement age.
For the first time in modern history, there are 5 generations of Americans working together, collaborating and coexisting in our workplaces.
To be sure, there are many companies which have failed to grasp this looming change. They aren’t yet thinking of their open positions as being potential jobs for senior citizens. There remains the perception of boomers and seniors being a drag on the workforce.
These companies are missing out on a great group of potential employees.
However, there are some companies that have adapted well. They actively value wisdom as much as youth by keeping the senior workforce a prevalent part of their staff. Some have gone so far as to create entire programs to capitalize on the trend by offering both full and part-time senior jobs.
Companies That Are Intentional About Creating Jobs for Seniors
In 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics job report, 19 percent of seniors ages 70 to 74 were still working at least part-time. They are working nearly 10 years beyond the traditional retirement age of 65 years old.
If you are working or planning to work beyond 65, expect to see fellow baby boomers at work with you. Recent research from Gallup shows that 37% of non-retired Americans expected to work beyond age 65.
This is a stark contrast from the 14% that answered this poll in the same way in 1995.
Smart businesses are taking note of the experience and irreplaceable characteristics of senior citizens in the workforce. From flexible schedules to mentor-ship programs, these national brands are making room for baby boomers in more ways than one:
The CVS Snowbirds
CVS/pharmacy has over 7,000 stores around the country and has been a front runner in creating jobs for seniors. In particular, the company’s “snowbird” program has earned them recognition and made them a top employer for boomers.
This allows several hundred pharmacists and workers with other job skills within the company to transfer from northern (undoubtedly cold) states, down to warmer climates in the winter.
If that isn’t an awesome perk, I’m not sure what is (Hello Arizona!).
Additionally, CVS has worked hard to provide flexible scheduling options that encourage seniors to fill a variety of available jobs from cashiers to photo techs. The company feels that would-be retirees add value as they can directly relate and interact with the company’s target market.
Marriott Makes Flexible Jobs for Seniors
With a culture of fostering the team at its core, Marriott has worked hard to not only retain employees into their golden years, but also to make new job opportunities available for seniors.
The company’s Flex Options program has helped 325,000 older Marriott team members (in the U.S. and abroad) transition from physically demanding jobs into other roles by offering on-the-job training that allows them to acquire new skills.
Marriott has found it to be essential to their values to implement these programs and others that give seniors an excellent chance at staying in the workforce longer and enjoying doing so.
Home Depot Hires the Senior Experts
Home Depot works hard to hire former contractors and tradesman with a specialty skill. This is a win-win for the company and the employee. Home Depot builds a workforce that is very knowledgeable in the home improvement industry while the retired contractor and tradesman can continue earning money without the hard labor demands they were once accustom to.
In addition to hiring contractors, Home Depot also hires seasonal workers. This provides a great opportunity for seniors who don’t necessarily want to work year-round but can use some extra income. As spring approaches, the company hires hundreds of seasonal workers.
Michelin Takes Retirees to Rehirees
Losing veteran workers is tough for companies of any size. Even when a big company like Michelin has the resources to train and attract talent, they recognize that some experience is irreplaceable.
From the executive level down to the production line, Michelin rehires retirees to oversee projects, grow relationships, and foster inter-generational mentoring programs.
They have unlocked a way to keep their company values strong for decades to come. As one generation teaches the next, the inverse is inevitability happening for many of the seniors in their program.
Brooks Brothers Values Experience in Senior Employees
From its beginnings in 1818, Brooks Brothers, has remained committed to keeping its manufacturing in the United States. The company has received awards for their commitment to their senior workforce.
Brooks Brothers’ Long Island factory manufactures millions of neckties and bowties each year. The Long Island facility manager Luis Nava tells the Wall Street Journal how their large senior workforce wasn’t necessarily planned, “While we are not intentionally recruiting people by age, many of our new hires are in their 50s and 60s because of the nature of the skills and experience we are looking for. Because workers stay with us for many decades, including into their 70’s, we know it’s likely we will keep these new hires for many years. We value older workers—veterans and new workers—because they have a lot of experience and understand both the product and the construction.”
In order to keep their seniors around, they offer flexible perks that are uncommon in their industry.
Finding the Best Senior Job Opportunities Around You
Isn’t it inspiring to see companies recognizing the matchless value that comes with age? We only listed a few of the companies that are leading the way. The truth is that there are many more small, medium, and large companies that are adapting to appreciate multi generational work forces.
Alternatively, if you are part of the silver tsunami hitting the workforce, research suggests that the chances are high that you will experience age discrimination of some sort at one time or another. Don’t feed into it.
It is a bit cliche to suggest but true nonetheless: your best bet is to be the change. If working beyond 65 is certain for you, find both local and corporate companies where you believe you could both add value and enjoy working. Find out if the company participates in any flexible or senior work programs and then sell them on why your experience and age is an asset rather than a liability.
If you are a senior on the hunt for the perfect job, keep reading. We have put together some reminders of how great you are to take with you to your next interview.
How Companies Benefit by Creating More Senior Jobs
Baby boomers have undoubtedly made an incredible impact on society as we know it and they aren’t done yet. If you own a business or make direct hiring decisions at your company, we’ve assembled a list as to why you are missing out if you aren’t actively hiring seniors.
Uncommon Work Ethic
For many baby boomers, much of their self-worth comes directly from professional achievements. They are not afraid to put in a hard day of work. Their ability to show up on time and get the job done with excellence, highlights the value that even younger employees often cannot compete with. You never know, they may come in and inspire the rest of your team to step it up a notch.
Imagine having 50 years of various job experience. You’d likely be good at a few things right? Most senior workers have held a variety of jobs in their lifetime. When you hire a senior, you are also obtaining the value that comes in their extensive life experience. Many seniors are not looking for your most strenuous full-time positions. In fact, they will likely appreciate a job with flexibility meaning you gain a part-time employee with expensive experience at a fraction of the cost. It’s a win-win for you both.
High Emotional Intelligence
Senior workers who have interacted with countless people in their working lives tend to have more sensitivity and intuition towards the needs of customers. When you have employees that understand and execute the critical importance of customer service, you will have better relationships with clients often leading to higher profitability.
Because of this, senior workers make excellent front-of-house employees. From greeters to cashiers and from receptionists to customer service reps, seniors will make an unmatched impression on your customers.
Loyalty You’ve Been Looking For
If you need employees on your team that you can trust, look no further. Seniors understand what it means to be loyal to their leaders and their peers. When given an opportunity, seniors are grateful for the chance to learn more and be part of a community.
Does your organization have high turnover? Hire more seniors. They will consider your offer a two-way street if you are giving them the chance. They are going to show up and contribute to your mission.
Responsible and Reliable
Too often, society makes the mistake of thinking of all seniors as elderly. Think of someone close to you that is turning 65. They are probably far from frail right? Senior employees are some of the most reliable around.
When it comes to part-time positions you are often presented with resumes of high school students, college students, and seniors. While every generation has an important role to play, you can trust your senior employees to bring a level of maturity and great attendance to your workplace. When someone calls in sick, call your senior worker first. Chances are they will make a way to help the team.
If Seniors Need Work, We Need Them
As we all learn how to navigate this multi-generational workforce, it is important that we recognize each generation’s value. As healthcare costs rise and Social Security in the future becomes uncertain, it is safe to say that working longer is the new normal.
Whether seniors must work to make ends meet or simply want to continue working beyond 65 because they enjoy it, there are many ways our companies and society can evolve and adapt to welcome them into staying around longer.
Companies that adjust their hiring practices to value the experience that seniors bring will be one step ahead in combating ageism in the workplace and making work life richer for all involved.
Have you had a great experience as a senior in the workforce? Alternatively, have you felt the pressure of younger generations pushing baby boomers out of the workforce? We want to hear your take on jobs for senior citizens! Leave us a comment below.