AFS Blog

A look at age-friendly employment

Posted on May 22, 2015 | by Kathy Black
A look at age-friendly employment

Kudos to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune's Barbara Peters-Smith who once again, in her article “Boomer Reverberation,” has tapped into a critically important issue for boomers (those age 50-69 today) and persons older as well.

The issue of employment represents yet another implication of our long-living society; that is, many of our friends and family members will either need or want to continue working despite plans for retirement.  Research suggests that the majority of us are woefully unprepared to afford our later years, while others are searching for greater engagement in work and service that matter to them, their communities and our society as a whole.

Employment has been identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a domain that denotes age-friendliness for communities. It is based on the premise that remaining actively engaged in one’s community yields multiple benefits to people, businesses that employ them and the greater community as well. Opportunities to continue working are national, global and local.

Several recent reports by AARP provide relevant considerations for American businesses. According to AARP’s 2015 report A Business Case for Workers Age 50+, employers who value and hire older workers can expect to reap many benefits including: talent, experience, and a strong work ethic. In addition, research suggests the costs to recruit and retain workers age 50+ is age-neutral, which surely speaks to the bottom line.

In another 2015 research report on the Future of Work @50+, AARP outlines employment strategies for persons seeking work including available job training programs.  The report also identifies broader incentives and subsidies to spur employment among the age groups and other job creation strategies.

The entire world is embracing employment across the lifespan. The global network of age-friendly communities has included numerous businesses and governmental organizations that provide best practices for employers for workers age 50+ around the globe. AARP has recognized these industry leaders for their outstanding vision and commitment in building a forward-looking workplace.  Examples include Lam Soon Edible Oils in Malaysia, which utilizes older workers as subject matter experts. In the UK, Marks & Spencer offers a partial retirement scheme that allows workers to draw pension benefits while continuing to work part time.

Our community is also replete to many notable efforts to promote employment among Boomers and others seeking work at later ages.  ‘Work Matters’ is an active group that meets monthly at the Stakeholders in Aging Consortium on the second Friday of each month at the Sarasota County Health Department. Their community-based forum represents an important network to connect and advance employment among people age 50+.

Age-Friendly Sarasota is an initiative of The Patterson Foundation, in partnership with AARP Florida, Sarasota County Health and Human Services, Florida Policy Exchange Center on Aging at USF, and the University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee. We invite residents age 50 and older to inform us about their aspirations for employment, and input on the other seven domains of livability as well, which can be accessed via our website at: www. AgefriendlySarasota.org. Our findings will be shared throughout the community and used to chart a blueprint for our collective future.


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