Q: I have a retail business and need dependable employees that are willing to work part-time during our busy times of the year and peak selling hours. Where do you suggest I look?
A: For a number of years now, many companies have been replacing full-time employees with part-time or temporary workers in an attempt to reduce operating costs.
But an increasing number of firms are having second thoughts about their employment policies and are actively recruiting permanent employees or giving contract employees de facto permanent status. Some enlightened companies are hiring or retaining older workers with flexible work schedules and ample training. Driving this employment trend is an economic upturn and Baby Boomer retirements.In 2011, the oldest of the 77 million Baby Boomers began turning age 65---the traditional retirement age. Now 10,000 boomers reach the age of 65 everyday.
For years, the surge of nearly 80 million Baby Boomers into the second half of life has been described as a great gray wave, moving inexorably forward, building in size and momentum with every passing day.
Boomers are likely to continue working, either part time or full time, as consultants or by setting up their own companies, surveys show. They want a “flexible” workplace that lets them take extended sabbaticals, then work intensely for shorter periods of time. They want to “phase-into” retirement by working fewer hours after 65 years of age.
Why do Baby Boomers want to continue working?
Baby Boomers are becoming aware that they are experiencing a different type of retirement than the previous generation. Compared to other generations, these confident and independent Baby Boomers admit that:
+ They need more money than their parents' generation to live comfortably.
+ Their generation is more self-indulgent than their parents'.
+ They will be healthier and live longer.
Back in 2001, in a survey of boomers, 80 percent said they were planning to work past 65, at least part time, according to AARP. Many will do it because they have to; they need the money. This generation has every expectation that they will live longer than the previous one. Yet, few have saved enough money for 30 years of full retirement.
A survey of boomers by AARP found that two in five workers age 50-65 were interested in a gradual, “phased retirement” instead of an abrupt cessation of work---and nearly 80% of those said that availability of phased retirement programs at work would encourage them to keep working longer.
Working part-time is associated with better health and longevity. Work requires you to have social contact, use your mind and get some exercise. Doing something you enjoy during the best years of your life contributes to better mental health. And a paycheck can help you take better care of yourself.
A study by researchers at the University of Michigan and National Taiwan University found that just 100 hours per year of work is all it takes in a phased retirement; leaving plenty of time for leisurely pursuits. Looking at a representative sample of 4,860 U.S. residents born before 1924, the Michigan and Taiwan researchers compared those who worked 100 or more hours in 1998 with those who worked less. They concluded that by 2000, "those working for pay were only half as likely to have reported bad health and one-quarter as likely to have died" as nonworkers, says Ming-Ching Luoh, co-author and associate economics professor at National Taiwan University.
Why would you want to hire older workers?
In many companies, there is an assumption that older workers are much less capable than their younger counterparts and this belief has led to an unintended consequence of age discrimination. The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) says 59% of members surveyed don’t actively recruit older workers and 65% don’t do anything specific to retain them.
However, more Americans reaching their 60s and 70s are going to want to work, at least part-time. And research has shown that high-level work is getting easier for older people and keeps them mentally and physically fit. Fewer jobs require physical demanding tasks such as heavy lifting. A survey by SHRM found almost seven in ten (68 percent) organizations say they employ older workers who have retired. Baby Boomers, with more education than any previous generation in history, can be a good match for retailers who need capable employees working only at peak periods.
It is common today to find older workers on the sales floor at retailers like Home Depot and CVS and there is a growing presence of older workers in high-paying, high-productivity careers. Older workers have the skills and abilities to solve ill-defined business problems, like dealing with a difficult boss or customer, and many have a good work ethic.
John Agno: Boomer Retirement Life Tips (ebook formats $2.99)