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Accommodating Older Workers Who Have to Work

HR professionals must begin to craft policies and programs that not only make older people want to stay with a company, but also make it easier for them to do so.

March 20, 2002
Related Topics: Retirement/Pensions, Compensation
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The collapse of Enron has prompted many people to review their retirementportfolios, and what they’re finding isn’t pretty. Large numbers of peoplehave not been saving enough to comfortably retire at age 65. Consequently, manyindividuals will have to continue working later in life.

This might turn out to be a good thing for the nation’s employers that arefacing a critical labor shortage. According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,by the year 2006 there will be 151 million jobs in the country, but only 141million people to fill them. The biggest talent crunch is expected to occur from2015 to 2025, as baby boomers retire.

To combat this looming shortage, HR professionals must begin to craftpolicies and programs that not only make older people want to stay with acompany, but also make it easier for them to do so. These include such thingsas:

  • Flexible work schedules
  • More part-time positions
  • Job-sharing opportunities
  • Flexible benefits
  • Seasonal work
  • Compressed workweeks
  • Expanded or reduced shifts
  • Voluntary demotions
  • Job rotation
  • Job redesign
  • Continued education and development
  • Active recruitment of older workers
  • Accommodations for workers with physical limitations
  • Incentives that appeal to older workers, such as longer vacation time

Workforce, April 2002, p. 30 -- Subscribe Now!

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