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The Boomer Factor: Rethinking an Underutilized Workforce in Nevada

To explore the extent to which Nevada employers are adapting to the shifts in labor force demographics and an aging workforce, AARP in Nevada commissioned employer surveys in three areas of the state. Specifically, the research examined employer approaches to retaining and recruiting workers age 50+ as well as retaining worker or institutional knowledge and experience.

Surveys were conducted with employers in Clark County, Carson City/Douglas County, and Washoe County. Results indicate that many businesses recognize they will face a labor shortage over the next five years as well as challenges brought on by the retirement of 76 million baby boomers. Given the smaller cohort of workers behind the boomers, employers may consider bridging the projected labor gap by focusing on the older worker. Many employers are currently faced with challenges in maintaining business during a recession but during these challenging times, the 50+ worker could represent an asset to employers. As an important component of a multi-generational workforce, older workers may not only help business maintain productivity through this downturn, they may also help firms avoid a potential shortage of skilled workers as boomers approach retirement. As other studies indicate, the 50+ worker is open to flexible work arrangements, schedules, and part-time work, and so employers could consider utilizing corresponding approaches to attract and retain the very workers that possess the desired worker qualities they value.

The telephone surveys were conducted in December 2008 by Woelfel Research, Inc. The 600 survey respondents comprised 200 employers in Clark County, 199 employers in Carson City/Douglas County (125 in Douglas County and 74 in Carson City), and 201 employers in Washoe County. The companies were all non-farm businesses that had at least three full-time or three part-time employees. For more information, contact Jennifer Sauer at 202-434-6207.