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Report: Older Workers Can Be a Bonus For Employers

PHOTO: Research from AARP crunches the potential costs of employing older workers and finds the value experience outweighs the cost. Courtesy: SMU.EDU
PHOTO: Research from AARP crunches the potential costs of employing older workers and finds the value experience outweighs the cost. Courtesy: SMU.EDU
May 4, 2015

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - The trend in South Dakota and the nation finds an increase in the number of older workers on the job and looking for work and a new study is doing some myth-busting about the supposed costs of those workers.

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

"The business case for hiring and retaining workers 50-plus is strong," says Bos. "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. She says South Dakota is ahead of the tide with older workers comprising about 35 percent of the workforce.

Bos says there are potential cost differences in hiring and retaining older workers, but she notes 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 says. "Our study shows that really the value of older workers can more than offset that cost."

Bos says 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 says.

Experienced workers seeking employment or looking to change jobs can get help both in person and on-line through the AARP 50-plus Job Seeker Series.

Jerry Oster, Public News Service - SD