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Best Employers for Workers Over 50

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2008 AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50

Recruiting Practices

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2007, 28 percent of the American workforce was age 50-plus, and the percentage is projected to increase to 33.5 percent by 2016. Clearly, employers need to understand and target mature workers if they want to maintain a robust  labor force. An immediate and significant advantage in hiring mature workers is their experience and knowledge. Adecco Group North America, a business services company based in Melville, N.Y., recognizes the value of mature workers:

As a business, we manage thousands of clients and job opportunities every week—and more than ever—these companies are looking for talent that’s no longer plentiful due to baby boomer (sic.) retirements and a tightening labor market. Many clients want proven, veteran workers with great institutional knowledge that many younger workers simply don’t yet possess.

Perhaps the dictionary should redefine “mature” as “accomplished, ready, willing, and able,” in order to better describe the abilities that mature workers possess.

Using pictures and stories, all of the Best Employers make sure their recruiting materials reflect broad diversity, including with mature workers. The vast majority use a variety of recruiting tactics to target mature workers and retirees. Eighty percent or more target mature workers or retirees through the Internet, newspapers, job fairs, and employment agencies. Fewer, but still more than 40 percent, target mature workers or retirees through placement agencies that appeal to Americans age 50+.


Target Mature Workers

Target Retirees







State or Local Employment Agencies



Job Fairs



Senior Placement Agencies



General Placement Agencies



Employee Referrals




A comparison of the 2008 with the 2007 Best Employers shows a noteworthy increase in recruitment strategies targeting retirees. For example, the percentage of the Best Employers using the Internet to target retirees rose from 76 percent in 2007 to 88 percent in 2008; the percent using job fairs to target retirees rose from 58 percent to 70 percent, and the percent using senior-placement agencies rose from 30 percent to 42 percent.

The Jennings Center for Older Adults in Garfield Heights, Ohio, makes its interest in mature workers clear by proudly including the message, “Retirees Welcome,” in many of its recruiting ads. Today, numerous Web sites and online resources make it easier to target mature workers in recruiting efforts. Specific recruiting Web sites and resources used by the 2008 Best Employers include the following: Diversity Inc.,, community senior-services organizations, Operation A.B.L.E., and AARP.

The health care industry, in particular, actively recruits mature and retired perople. Atlantic Health in Morristown, N.J., has implemented a 1,000-Hour Club, which recruits retirees to return to work and to complete less than 1,000 hours of service in a calendar year. Within the 1,000-hour annual-service limit, retirees can return to work while retaining their full retirement benefits. Atlantic Health recruits for the 1,000-Hour Club by promoting it to employees who are approaching retirement and by mailing information about the program to retirees at various intervals during their retirement.

Centegra Health System in Crystal Lake, Ill., operates an Alumni Nurse Program, which it established five years ago. Through the Alumni Nurse Program, retired nurses return in paid positions to serve as mentors for younger nurses and to help provide patient care.

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Massachusetts General Hospital  in Boston launched a newspaper-recruiting campaign called “WorkExcellenceLife” that shows the hospital’s commitment to helping its employees achieve work-life balance and career success. The images selected for the campaign are intended to reflect the employer’s appreciation of diversity. One ad featured a woman in her 60s who ran the Boston Marathon to raise money for the MGH Cancer Center. Hospital H.R. employees describe the campaign as one of their most successful recruiting campaigns to date.

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