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Report: Scale Tilts Towards Value of Older Workers

A recent AARP survey finds that while there can be some costs associated with employing older workers, the experience they bring to the job provides benefits that exceed the costs. Courtesy: Sebastiaan ter Burg via flickr
A recent AARP survey finds that while there can be some costs associated with employing older workers, the experience they bring to the job provides benefits that exceed the costs. Courtesy: Sebastiaan ter Burg via flickr
May 4, 2015

CONCORD, N.H. – The trend in New England and the nation finds an increase in the number of older workers on the job and looking for work, and a recent study is doing some myth busting about the supposed costs of those workers.

Laura Bos, manager of education and outreach for financial security with AARP, says many companies look to older workers for their knowledge and management skills, and AARP's study shows that any costs associated with hiring and retaining those age 50-plus is outweighed by the value of their experience.

"The business case for hiring and retaining workers 50-plus is strong,” she points out. “And it's even stronger than it was 10 years ago when we first did this study."

Bos says the AARP study finds professionalism, work ethic and low turnover are among the valuable attributes that workers 50-plus bring to the job.

Bos concedes there are potential cost differences in hiring and retaining older workers, but she notes that retirement plans aren't what they used to be, and older workers tend to be more healthy – and that's tilting the scales.

"The cost differential between hiring an older worker and younger workers has actually shrunk somewhat,” she states. “And our study shows that really the value of older workers can more than offset that cost."

Bos adds there are potential benefits for employers because older workers tend to be more engaged.

"They're more likely to say that even if they had the opportunity they would not leave their job because they're committed to the company – that, it would take a lot for them to leave their company," she explains.

From 2002 until 2022, the study says the number of workers under age 50 is expected to decrease by 3 percent, while the number of 50-plus workers is anticipated to grow by 62 percent.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NH