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Best Companies for Older Workers
Are you thinking about a new job, looking for new opportunities? Well, it can help to know where to look. If you are a worker over age 50 – or if you will be a worker over age 50 soon – a good place to start is with companies that AARP has identified as the best U.S. companies for workers over 50.
AARP bases its annual award of how well companies meet the needs of an older work force, especially in the areas of recruiting, educational opportunities, workplace accommodations, and benefits for active workers and employees.
It is important for companies to consider the needs of older workers, AARP says, because the U.S. workforce is aging: By 2016, one-third of all workers will be 50 or older. Besides, the organization notes, “Policies that are good for mature workers are often beneficial for all.”
Most of the top companies have a relatively large number of older workers. For example, at top-ranked Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., 43 percent of employees are 50 or older. Many of these companies actively seek out older workers, working with recruiters who specialize in that area.
They have excellent health benefits for employees and for retirees, and they also have excellent retirement income benefits. And, they offer generous educational opportunities, both for career development and to give workers an opportunity to explore areas of interest. For example, Cornell’s Opportunities for Healthy Aging is a series of free or low-cost programs that target health and fitness concerns of older adults. Many offer tuition reimbursement and seminars that allow employees to hone existing skills or develop new ones. And most also allow employees to work part-time in a different department to learn a new job.
These companies also have flexibility in their approach to work. Most offer telecommuting, flex-time and job-sharing options, which are attractive to many older people who want to work, but may not want to work a 40-hour week or the traditional 9-to-5 workday. And most also offer phased retirement options, which allow retiring workers to ease into retirement by moving from full-time to part-time work.
Finally, the award-winning top companies make an effort to stay connected with their retirees, and to keep retirees connected with each other. Many have retiree liaisons, newsletters, Web sites, etc. And some, like S.C. Johnson & Sons, allow retirees to continue to use the company fitness center.
In 2008, AARP’s top 10 companies to for people over 50 are:
- Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.
- Scripps Health in San Diego, Calif.
- S.C. Johnson & Sons., Inc., in Racine, Wis.
- The YMCA of Greater Rochester, N.Y.
- Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, Fla.
- Securian in St. Paul, Minn.
- First Horizon National Corp. in Memphis, Tenn.
- Stanley Consultants in Muscatine, Iowa
- Bon Secours Richmond Health System in Richmond, Va.
- Blue Cross Blue Shield Association in Chicago.