Top 10 Employers for the Over-50 Crowd

The old rule of last-hired first-fired has gone by the wayside during the recession. Now the rule is to first lay-off the older, higher-paid employees. Unfortunately, this practice leaves companies without the historical perspective and depth-of-knowledge it takes to make a company successful.

If you've been laid-off and have hit the half-century mark, you know how difficult it can be to find a new job. Younger bosses are often intimidated by more-experienced applicants. Some companies prefer not to hire workers over 50 because, after all, "they'll retire soon and experience more health problems."

Realizing times have changed, the American Association for Retired People has compiled a list of the best employers for over-50 workers. Here are the top 10 of AARP's top 50 list.

1. Cornell University
Cornell uses placement agencies for older job seekers to successfully target mature workers and retirees. In addition, Cornell recruits from within its own ranks of retirees through the Cornell Retiree Association and the Cornell Association of Professors Emeriti. Thirty-six percent of Cornell employees are age 50+. The average tenure for employees age 50+ is 17.7 years.

2. First Horizon National Corporation
This financial-services company uses placement agencies for older job seekers and has cultivated a relationship with Senior Services of Memphis to locate and attract mature workers and retirees. The First Horizon National Corporation offers numerous leadership courses and encourages all employees to recognize their peers' accomplishments via the Firstpower Line program. First Horizon continuously uses feedback from workers to amend or create new benefits programs, including a vacation-donation program and parental leave. 

3. National Institutes of Health
The National Institute of Health provides a Senior Leadership Program that gives senior scientific and administrative employees opportunities to strengthen their leadership-development plans and receive one-on-one coaching. The Bethesda, Maryland, government agency offers several learning and development opportunities, including tuition reimbursement, in-house classroom training, online training, certification classes, and student-loan repayment for both full- and part-time employees working at least one hour per week. In the past 12 months, 100 percent of NIH employees have used at least one of the educational benefits.

4. YMCA of Greater Rochester
The YMCA of Greater Rochester uses placement agencies for older job seekers to target mature workers and retirees in recruitment efforts. The YMCA also turns to its own retirees when jobs are available. In addition, this YMCA chapter works with a number of community employment groups and state agencies, including the Rochester Area Employee Network, to recruit and retain disabled workers who are age 50+. 

5. National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
Currently, 37 percent of employees with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association are age 50+, with an average tenure of 11.8 years. The Arlington, Va. based association offers employees a benefits package that includes perks like free preventive-care exams. Employees can also choose from a number of alternative-work arrangements, ranging from flextime to the ability to telework up to three days per week.

6. S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc.
The S. C. Johnson Company, based in  Racine, Wisc., is one of the world’s leading makers of household products. Thirty-six percent of their employees are ages 50+, with an average tenure of 23 years. Workers and retirees are offered the same benefits and programs, including a defined pension benefit plan and access to the S.C. Johnson JMBA Recreation and Fitness Center. This center offers health, wellness, and fitness programs and activities specifically or exclusively to retirees.

7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MIT creates a positive work environment through a generous benefits package, such progressive programs as MITemps, and internal-hiring practices. MIT has fosters growth in its employees and to maintain high levels of employee retention. Thirty-seven percent of MIT employees are ages 50 or older, with an average tenure of 15.9 years.

8. Stanley Consultants
This international engineering, environmental and construction services company does an excellent job of attracting and keeping mature workers by offering a generous benefits package and flexible work schedules. Stanley Consultants' phased-retirement program helps the organization maintain a skilled, mature labor force. About 75 percent of new retirees participate in the phased-retirement program during their first two years of retirement. Phased-retirement schedules are flexible and are determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the needs of the employee and the employer. Currently, just over one-third of employees are age 50+, with an average tenure of 15 years.

9. Brevard County Public Schools
As of 2008, 44 percent of Brevard Public Schools’ workforce was age 50+. Brevard tries to retain its mature workers by offering them a number of alternative work arrangements, such as flextime and phased retirement. Brevard also actively works with its retirees to fill permanent and temporary positions in the schools. As of 2008, 494 retirees had used one of the schools’ employment opportunities.

10. George Mason University
George Mason University, located in Fairfax, Va., provides full- and part-time employees opportunities for flexible or compressed-work schedules, job-sharing and telecommuting. Full-time employees can move to part-time work on a permanent or temporary basis. More than one-third of the university's workforce is age 50 or older.

The AARP also compiles an annual list of the Top 15 Hospitals/Health Care Organizations for workers over 50.

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2 Comments

Great List! i think the employees more than 40 years really face some health issues, in this way the operation of the company can suffer due to their health problems. George Mason University employment system is very good. They really pay good for part time job.
Posted by Michael Coates
The old rule of last-hired first-fired has gone by the wayside during the recession. Now the rule is to first lay-off the older, higher-paid employees. Unfortunately, this practice leaves companies without the historical perspective and depth-of-knowledge it takes to make a company successful.
Posted by James Morgan - Puritan Financial Advisor