gloria-dunn-violin-article-imageBy Gloria Dunn-Violin

Are you searching far and wide to find the right fit for job openings? How does your workforce’s productivity match up to your competitors? Would you like to know of a great resource that could fill your open job requisitions today?

Few, if any, organizations have an adequate supply of talent. Gaps exist at the top of the organization, in leadership positions and at the front lines. What appears to be a scarce resource impacts your financial success.

Yet, there is a talented and seasoned resource in your midst. Not only do they have the skills you want, they are experienced, proven, and ready to contribute to your bottom line. They are people over the age of 60.

No longer ready to retire, these active professionals are interested in contributing their knowledge, expertise and energy into today’s marketplace.

The ingrained attitude on ageism has come back to bite those who think age identifies the abilities and contributions that can be made by a mature generation. The over-60-age group has a huge role to play in the business sector and can be instrumental in a company’s success worldwide.

Employers need to wake up to the needs and expectations of today’s workforce — 30 percent are now over 50 and 1 million over 65. According to U.S. Census Bureau projections, the 65-and-older population will increase by more than 67 percent between 2015 and 2040, representing 21.0 percent of the total population by 2040.

Many people from older generations have honed their skills for 40 years. Nothing beats experience. How can the business sector disregard this proven resource?

With funding from the Sloan Foundation, the Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research conducted a national survey of 1,024 adults age 50 and over. This survey illuminates a slow-moving shift in the American idea of retirement. Retirement is not only coming later in life, but for many it no longer represents a complete exit from the workforce.

Hiring the mature worker can bring a financial boost to both workers and the economy. It’s a win-win. Workers get to use their skills and make meaningful contributions, which enhance their lives. Employers get to utilize the abundance of skills these workers provide and enjoy greater business success.

The truth is, we need everyone. Older workers do not replace younger workers but are great mentors and supporters of aspiring professionals. With guidance, their junior business colleagues can focus on growing their abilities and produce outcomes in less time and with less stress. Helping older workers stay in the workplace is not only good for their personal finances but also helps create more jobs for those coming into the work sector.

A second win-win is that the more income available to our older population through salaries, the more ability they have to spend, which can boost the whole economy for workers of all ages.

So what does it take to get this older generation to continue working? How about phased retirement options? How about flexible work arrangements and hours? These include part-time employment, compressed work schedules, job sharing, changing jobs within the company, telework arrangements, “snowbird” programs that allow employees to shuttle between locations seasonally, and hiring former employees as independent contractors.

What about instituting new pension freedoms, so workers can combine pension income with earnings and, therefore, plan a gradual retirement? Businesses today need to put together a strategic plan that focuses on encouraging this needed workforce to stay connected and active in growing our companies.

“Recareering” or career change is another option common among retiring employees. According to AARP, “half of the workers who left their career jobs by the time they were ages 65 to 69 moved to a new employer; nearly two-thirds of those were recareerers. For many, this meant downshifting to less demanding jobs with lower wages and fewer benefits but more flexibility. Workers overwhelmingly enjoy their new jobs.”

Lastly, recruitment is expensive. Isn’t it better to keep older workers than to continually recruit replacements? It’s all about long-term business survival, even more so in the current climate.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, turnover is highest in industries such as trade and utilities, construction, retail, customer service, hospitality and service. Some studies, like one from the Society of Human Resource Management, predict that every time a business replaces a salaried employee, it costs six to nine months’ salary on average. For a manager making $40,000 a year, that’s $20,000 to $30,000 in recruiting and training expenses.

But others predict the cost is even more. Losing a salaried employee can cost as much as two times their annual salary, especially for a high-earner or executive-level employee.

Looks like we have a match. People who want to work and companies looking for talent — a match that can be made in a forward thinking business world that honors longevity.

The New Retirement: A Paradigm Shift is a recurring column by Gloria Dunn-Violin (415-259-7090,, [email protected]), a certified retirement life coach, owner of HAVING A LIFE After Making a Living in Marin County and a business consultant. She is also a speaker and author with more than 25 years experience in organizational behavior and development as a trainer, facilitator, consultant and coach.