(By Dan Simmons)

Television retirement ads seem to jump out at me now.  I can’t even open the Sunday paper without beautiful brochures containing retirement ads scattering to the floor. The older I get, the more I understand that people in the second half of their careers really do have a lot to offer.  That’s what we’re calling “The Second Act” – men and women over the age of 55 choosing to stay in, or re-enter, the job market.

Due to various factors, older workers are choosing to remain in the job market for an extended period of time in a number of different capacities.  Below are a few statistics that illustrate that fact.

  • According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are more than 16 million Americans over the age 55 who are either working or looking for jobs.
  • According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), 72% of all workers today plan to work after retirement.

Why are seniors staving off retirement?  Some suffered a severe economic blow during the latest recession, while others simply become bored with their leisure time and crave the challenges of the workplace. Regardless of the reasons, this much is evident: with the impending shortage of qualified candidates, considering older workers is certainly a viable option when addressing hiring needs. Hiring part of the “Second Act” could have a profoundly positive impact on your company’s potential for growth and ultimately, its bottom line.

Re-evaluate your practices

Historically there has been a certain stigma associated with hiring older workers. The reality is that these workers provide a clear value that other candidates may not.

  • Experience — People who have been in the workforce for an extended period of time are intuitive and adapt quickly.  They enjoy being able to apply their education and experience in new ways. This also translates into cost savings for the employer, since seniors do not typically require extensive job training.
  • Motivation — Retirees who have re-entered the work force for economic reasons are motivated.  Those who go back to work for other reasons, such as a greater sense of fulfillment or satisfaction, are also intrinsically motivated.
  • Loyalty — Job movement has become commonplace.  However, older candidates first entered the workforce when that wasn’t the case.  As a result, they’re less likely to seek greener pastures.
  • Work ethic — More experienced workers have witnessed the benefits associated with a strong work ethic and the rewards that are often given to those who exhibit one on a consistent basis.
  • “Alternate Innovation”— What’s this?  Older workers, due largely to their professional and life experiences, are very good at tweaking and modifying an existing business process for the purpose of maximizing its efficiency and effectiveness.

Reap the benefits

“The Second Act” is growing and the impact that it’s having on the workforce is becoming more pronounced.  While it’s certainly important to do everything you can to attract the best and brightest talent, it’s equally imperative that you don’t overlook quality people who are 55+ and who can contribute greatly to your company in either a full-time or part-time capacity.

Re-assess and re-evaluate your hiring practices. Consider the fact that for some, insurance benefits might be more important than salary.  Salary may be traded for time off.  For many, career planning is not as important as it used to be.

This growing trend could easily transform into a market shift with far-reaching implications.  Only those companies that first recognize this trend and then look for ways to apply it to their current practices will be able to fully take advantage of what it has to offer.

So now, when I’m bombarded with retirement ads, I’m going to smile and take a new approach.  Being able to take a vacation—without kids, $4,934.  Buying that car I’ve always wanted, $48,000 and some change.  Benefiting from all my years of experience?  Priceless!


Dan SimmonsDaniel C. Simmons is a Certified Personnel Consultant who has been recruiting since 1991. Dan has won over twenty awards in the last decade with the Top Echelon Network, America’s leading placement network including Placer of the Year in 2009 & 2010.

Frequently Dan also is a recruiter trainer and has been featured at various Top Echelon Conventions and online as a speaker for various webinars. He has also been published in The Fordyce Letter the recruiting industry’s #1 magazine.

Is Your Company Looking for Great Candidates? Contact Dan Today!