The labor shortage has brought about new opportunities, and roughly a third of retirees have considered going back to work, according to a recent survey by Resume Builder. But how can mature workers and retirees target companies that are going to value their expertise and contributions and not be biased by the number of years they’ve been in the world? Here are six places to look.
Staffing Firms and Recruiters
Depending on the type of work you’re seeking, a job search or staffing firm may be able to help. It’s important to ask questions of internal and external recruiters, says diversity, equity and inclusion expert Monica Parker. “Ask ‘how open is the company to having a wide range of ages,’ and just sort of see what the responses are like.” You’ll likely see whether the answer is enthusiastically positive with examples, or if the individual avoids the subject, she adds.
And some firms, like ManpowerGroup U.S. are specifically targeting mature workers, which it does through its Job Connections for Mature Workers program, which launched in 2020. “We develop programs that upskill underrepresented and underserved populations, and of course, the mature worker is one of them,” says Laurel McDowell, who is the program lead.
A strong network can be invaluable for those seeking information about company culture, as well as for concrete leads. So, if you’re thinking about coming out of retirement for a new job, invest some time in updating your LinkedIn profile to showcase the skills you have that could catch the eye of people in your network.
“I'm going to say over half of those [hirings] that I've seen recently have not been through their first-degree connections, but rather the second- and third-degree connections,” says Saundra Botts, a career strategist with ExecuNet, who specializes in helping people age 50-plus find new jobs. If you are considering a role with a particular company, search the company name on LinkedIn to see if you have any contacts who have connections there to help you find out more about the culture.
Companies With Retraining Programs
Carol Fishman Cohen, CEO and founder of iRelaunch, a career reentry consulting, training and events company helps companies structure retraining and internship programs for workers who have taken career breaks. Such programs also include retirees who may be coming back to work. Looking for companies that have such programs may signal an opportunity within the organization. “I think that is a terrific place for folks who are looking at coming back to work to start,” she says. Cohen and her team have helped a number of employers implement such programs, including the state of Utah, Oracle, Raytheon Technologies, General Motors, Johnson & Johnson, Merck and others. iRelaunch also has a job board that highlights opportunities for people returning to the workforce after a break.
Join today and get instant access to discounts, programs, services, and the information you need to benefit every area of your life.
AARP Employer Pledge List
More than 1,000 companies of all sizes have signed the AARP Employer Pledge, which states that they:
- Believe in equal opportunity for all workers
- Recognize the value of experienced workers
- Recruit across age-diverse groups and consider applicants equally, regardless of age
- Believe that workers age 50-plus should have a level playing field in competing for and obtaining jobs
AARP also vets companies on the list to ensure they have had no class action suits or other public issues related to age discrimination. “There are a lot of companies that really value mature workers,” says Heather Tinsley-Fix, a senior advisor at AARP who leads the program. “[Being on the list lets] consumers job seekers know that these employers want to hire them. They want experienced talent.”
Applying to a job ad without having contacts at the company or other advantages puts you in competition with the masses. But, sometimes, job ads can tell you about the company culture, Parker says. Look for language that specifically states that the company doesn’t discriminate on the basis of age. Some companies put it more bluntly: Last year, a job ad from software company RelevantDB went viral because the copy read, “We hire old people. (And young people, too.)” The brash approach to rejecting ageism was refreshing in an industry (technology) where ageism has been an issue.
Also, simply typing “retiree” or other versions of the word into Indeed or other job search engines can deliver companies that are specifically looking for retirees.
Workplace Review Sites
Checking workplace and culture review sites like Glassdoor and Comparably can give you insight into a company’s culture, Parker says. While one or two negative experiences related to age may be incidental, a pattern of comments about ageism could signal a culture where mature workers are not valued, she says.
These entry points can help you compile a list of employers that value experienced workers, so you can better target career opportunities during the "Great Resignation" and beyond.
Gwen Moran is a contributing writer for AARP who specializes in business and finance. Her work has appeared in many leading business publications and websites, including Entrepreneur, Kiplinger.com, Newsweek.com and The Los Angeles Times Magazine.