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Best Employers for Workers Over 50

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Four Bay State Employers Are Best

Meet the four employers from Massachusetts on the 2009 list of AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50.  

Representing the Bay State are:

•    Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Branch

•    DentaQuest of Charlestown

•    Harvard University of Cambridge

•    Massachusetts Institute of Technology of Cambridge 


Preparing for an Aging Workforce

By 2012, almost one in five Bay State workers will be at least age 55. 

At the same time, the pool of younger, replacement workers will be smaller than previous generations and may not be sufficient to meet employer needs.

The Bay State employers recognized this year by AARP illustrate two employment sectors that will likely be first and hardest hit by the aging workforce: education and government. These sectors, as well as health care and utilities, have encouraged long service, have had relatively little hiring in recent years, and/or major downsizing in the 1980s and 1990s.   

“The AARP Best Employers from Massachusetts recognize the importance of innovative policies – such as flexible work schedules, professional development, job sharing and redesign, good health benefits and opportunities to save for retirement – as they work to retain and recruit experienced workers,” explains Deborah Banda, state director for AARP Massachusetts.  “In developing and instituting these policies and practices, these employers are charting a course for others to follow.”

More on the Massachusetts Winners

Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Executive Branch is the first executive branch of state government to receive the AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50 award.

The Commonwealth’s Executive Branch emphasizes its skilled and mature workforce by:

•    recognizing long service

•    offering learning and development opportunities

•    providing flexible work arrangements

•    offering child-care and elder-care assistance

•    maintaining relationships with retirees

The Executive Branch also targets mature workers through programs like Operation A.B.L.E. of Greater Boston. Currently, 43 percent of the Executive Branch’s workforce is age 50 or older, with an average tenure of 19.5 years.

DentaQuest celebrates its third appearance on the AARP Best Employers list (2004, 2008, 2009). By partnering with Operation A.B.L.E. of Greater Boston, DentaQuest is committed to training and recruiting mature employees. The company is also responsive to employees’ concerns and requests, leading to an increased 401(k) match and a long-term care benefit. 

Harvard University offers employees a number of innovative benefits like childcare scholarships and co-pay reimbursements. Other benefits, like membership to the Harvard Retiree Association and the ability to take part in the Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement help to maintain strong relationships with the school’s 4,400 retirees. Thirty-one percent of Harvard employees are age 50 or older, with an average tenure of 8.8 years. This is Harvard’s second straight appearance on the AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50 list. 

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a five-time AARP Best Employers recipient (2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009). By creating a positive work environment through a generous benefits package, progressive programs like MITemps and internal hiring practices, MIT has been able to foster growth and maintain high levels of retention. Thirty-seven percent of MIT employees are age 50 or older, with an average tenure of 15.9 years.

About AARP Best Employers

More than 200 employers applied for this year’s AARP Best Employers honor, the highest total in the nine year history of the program. Any U.S.-based employer with at least 50 employees is eligible to apply for the AARP Best Employers award. Candidates are vetted to ensure that practices meet the needs of mature workers.

Key areas of consideration include:

•    recruiting practices

•    opportunities for training

•    education and career development

•    workplace accommodations

•    alternative work options, such as flexible scheduling, job sharing, and phased retirement

•    employee health and retirement benefits

•    retiree work opportunities  

View the complete list of 2009 AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50.

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