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Staying Ahead of the Curve 2004: Employer Best Practices for Mature Workers

In 2002, 14 percent of the workforce was age 55 or older. By 2012, nearly 20 percent of workers will be at least 55, an increase of more than 10 million workers in this age group. In light of this demographic shift, AARP engaged Mercer Human Resource Consulting in 2004 to conduct an analysis of the workforce practices of current and former AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50 in order to identify how best to address the needs of mature workers.

This report, based primarily on an extensive review of the applications submitted by winning companies in 2002, 2003 and 2004, identifies best practices among the winning companies and categorizes the practices within a framework designed to help employers determine which methods they should adopt to attract the mature workforce.

The main themes that emerged in the analysis of the AARP Best Employers are, in order of prevalence:

  • Attraction and retention of the right workforce are important to the companies chosen as AARP Best Employers.
  • Newly implemented programs that focus on mature workers usually required only a modest investment.
  • A company ' s individual industry and market focus can in many cases be leveraged to offer programs to support the maturing workforce.
  • New programs are emerging to meet the workplace needs of the mature worker; the incidence of such programs has increased among the AARP Best Employers over the three years of the study.
  • The AARP Best Employers in the healthcare sector appear to have more developed mature worker programs than AARP Best Employers in most other sectors.

For more information, please contact Deborah Russell of AARP Economic Security and Work at (202) 434-2067, Sara Rix of the AARP Public Policy Institute at (202) 434-2416, or Kathi Brown of AARP Knowledge Management at (202) 434-6296.