The dismal May employment report released last week was bad news for all, but especially for workers 55 and over, who have been hardest-hit by long-term unemployment. But there are some companies defying these trends -- supporting and even seeking out mature workers. Not only do these employers offer a beacon of hope for post 50 job seekers, but the innovative accommodations they are willing to make for their older employees offer some food for thought for any boomer evaluating a potential or even current workplace.
Flexibility is the main thing the best employers offer their mature employees, said Jean Setzfand, vice president of financial security at AARP and part of the team that compiled a list of 50 such employers, which are heavily focused in the health care and education fields. A "fair amount of qualitative judging" goes into compiling the AARP's Top 50 list, said Setzfand, but other key criteria include opportunities for employees to refresh and expand their knowledge and skill sets, and a culture committed to both the physical and mental well-being of its employees. Some applicants for AARP's "Best Employer" designation have reimbursements for employes to join gyms or meditation and time-management programs, for example.
AARP also examines a company's recruiting practices to see how they reach out to midlife employees. For example, The National Institutes of Health, which ranks third on the AARP's list, participates in job fairs to target older workers. (Once they are employed, they get access to free exercise classes, flexible work options such as telecommuting, and lots of opportunities to keep training and learning.)
The "Best Employer" program has gained steadily more applications since its inception in 2001, said Setzfand. So not only are there workplaces out there that are recruiting older workers and treating them well once they are employed, but more employers are striving for an age-friendly designation.
Check out the slideshow below for AARP's top ten employers for mature workers, and be sure to check out aarp.org for the full list.