Older workers can add plenty to today's companies

Posted: Monday, July 17, 2006

Many employers are finding that hiring older workers provides them with a number of benefits, both financially and in terms of productivity.

Arthur Koff, Chicago-based founder of RetiredBrains.com, says the work ethic of older workers is often what sets them apart from younger generations.

"Hiring older workers provides companies with employees who are more likely to be punctual, are more committed to quality, have better people skills and are less likely to be absent from work," says Koff. "They also require less training and generally have a more positive attitude."

On the rise

There is no shortage of older workers for companies to choose from. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2012, workers 55 years and older will make up about 20 percent of the labor force. Koff says that many choose to continue working because they realize they must earn additional income into their retirement years.

"The costs of health care usually turns out to be a great deal more expensive than planned for," Koff says. "In fact, a recent study has found that the average couple retiring today at 65 will spend in excess of $210,000 out of pocket between retirement and the demise of both parties."

Cost savings

Aside from the experience and work ethic older workers bring to the table, employers can sometimes save by hiring people who are looking for ways to contribute, not necessarily a full-time job.

"Employers have also found that hiring seniors for project assignments or on a part-time basis can save them big dollars on benefits or health care costs," says Koff. "In most cases, part-time workers are not entitled to benefits."

In addition to part-time work, employers are also hiring older workers on a project basis.

"Companies are hiring retired executives, managers and professionals for project assignments," says Koff. "In many cases retirees will work for substantially less than they were paid when working full-time prior to retirement. This is a win-win for both employer and retiree."

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