Monday, February 28, 2005

Monsanto Attracts Early Retiree with Special Work Program

According to an article by Chicago Tribune writer Barbara Rose, Monsanto opeates a program aimed at tapping retirees' skills, which enabled an early retiree who left after 26 years to take an assignment that allowed her to resume working without being thrust back into a full-time job and without giving up her retiree benefits. According to Rose:
Monsanto's program — a rarity in the business world — is a harbinger of a future in which retirees and older workers will be offered the chance to leave work gradually, opting for more flexible hours and less responsibility until they're ready to retire altogether.

Such programs represent a dramatic shift in a society that for decades devised increasingly rich incentives to replace older employees with less-expensive younger workers.
Some aspects of Monsanto's program are that:
  • Retirees must be gone from the company at least six months before being hired on again part time.
  • It is open to employees of all ages who leave in good standing.

In addition, a pending IRS rule change would allow workers to start drawing prorated pension benefits at age 59-1/2 while working fewer hours.

Source: "Redefining 'retirement'" The Seattle Times (February 27, 2005)

AARP Unveils "Worforce Initiative" for Mature Job Seekers

The AARP Foundation and 13 major companies announced a major new program called the "Workforce Initiative" to help Americans aged 50 and over to stay in the workforce. This will include highlighting "Featured Employers"-–"companies that have committed to an aggressive program of recruiting, hiring, and retaining mature workers." According to AARP, the first group of Featured Employers includes major names in business: Adecco, AlliedBarton Security Services, Borders Group, Inc., Express Personnel Services, Johns Hopkins Health System, Kelly Services, Manpower Inc., MetLife Inc., Pitney Bowes, Principal Financial Group, The Home Depot, Universal Health Services and Walgreens. The overall goal of the Workforce Initiative is to connect mature workers with job opportunities.
First, it will help 50+ workers prepare for remaining in the workforce by linking them with skills assessment tools and training resources. Next, it will provide connections for those who may want full or part-time jobs or new careers with companies who value their experience. Finally, it will be a resource to large and small companies, to help them understand the needs and interests of a mature workforce. The strength of this program involves commitment on the state and local level working with both the public and private workforce sectors to provide connections for mature workers seeking employment.
Source: News Release AARP (February 28, 2005)

Sunday, February 27, 2005

AARP Foundation Names Pitney Bowes "Featured Employer"

Pitney Bowes and 12 other national companies were named “Featured Employers” by the AARP Foundation for being forward-looking companies in regard to the impact of an aging workforce on employers, employees and on the economy. AARP named the companies as part of its launch of the Workforce Initiative. The Workforce Initiative is designed to help job seekers remain in the workforce, as they desire, by seeking to help mature jobseekers and workers close the existing gap of opportunities by offering employment connections, skills assessment and access to training. According to Pitney Bowes,
Pitney Bowes was recognized for giving equal consideration to mature job seekers as it does for applicants from all other groups. The company also provides programs to support their employees’ health, education, preparation for retirement, care giving to elderly parents and other family members, among others.
Source: Press Release Pitney Bowes (February 28, 2005)

New Service Launched To Help Baby boomers Plan Their Retirement Lifestyle

The Your Second Life (YSL) Retirement Profile, developed by the Charleston Marketing Group, has been launched as a self-assessment tool to help advise older workers with the kind of soul searching that busy professionals usually put off. A 66-question personality profile available online for a nominal-processing fee of $9.95 per couple (less than $5 per person), the YSL tackles the psychological and emotional aspects of retirement planning and is the only personal lifestyle assessment tool available to the public similar to those used by college and career counselors and executive search firms. The developers are also talking with HR professionals, who want to include the YSL Retirement Profile as part of their employee retirement and pension package.

Source: Press Release eMediaWire (February 26, 2005)

Friday, February 25, 2005

Retiree Health Coverage Is a Sweetener Fewer Companies Are Willing To Offer.

In an article on retiree health benefits in CFO Human Capital, the first special issue of CFO Magazine dedicated to the topics of human capital management and employee benefits.discusses, Alan Nyberg concludes that "[c]onsidering the current lack of choices for maintaining retiree medical benefits, the real message may be that employers are doing their level best to live up to promises made to workers." According to Nyberg, an increasing number of corporations—-8 percent in 2004—-are eliminating retiree health benefits for new hires or current employees; ina addition, with respect to current retirees, 79 percent of companies in 2004 raised the portion of the premium they expect retirees to pay and 13% shifted the full cost of premiums onto retirees. However, he also reports on a couple bright spots. One, is the increasing viability of voluntary employee benefit associations (VEBAs) for employers with the means to prefund their obligations. The other is a newfound interest in health reimbursement arrangements for retirees, which allow employers to credit a discrete amount of money toward retiree medical benefits to individual employees over any length of time.

Source: "Promises, Promises" CFO Magazine (February 22, 2005)

Canada: Depression Rising in Over-50 Set of Employees

Although younger employees--the Generation Xers and the Millennials--are the ones reporting the highest rates of depression and anxiety symptons in Canada according to a study ("Workplace Mental Health Indicators: An EAP’s Perspective") from WarrenShepell Research Group, depression symptoms dipped rose for employees 50 years of age and over (three-year average 6.91%). Anger symptoms decreased with age--1.55% for employees over 50 years old. According to a story, in the Globe and Mail:
The [depression] figure for the over-50 set "runs counter to the traditional notion that people become more serene and confident in their work as they get older," says Rod Phillips, president and chief executive officer of Warren Shepell, a Toronto-based provider of employee assistance programs.

Behind that figure, Mr. Phillips says, is a growing demand for older workers to adapt to the increasing pace of change in work, as well as the trends for them to start families or shift careers later in life, boosting their stress.
Source: News Release WarrenShepell (February 15, 2005); Article Globe and Mail (February 25, 2005)

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Americans Ill-Prepared to Generate a Retirement "Paycheck"

A new study released today by Prudential Retirement finds Americans aged 55-64 overwhelmingly agree that having a guaranteed stream of income during retirement is their top goal, but the vast majority do not know how to convert their retirement savings into a regular retirement "paycheck," focusing instead on simply saving as much as they can. According to the Prudential Financial’s Fourth Annual Workplace Report on Retirement Planning, "How Prepared Are America’s Older Workers to Generate a Retirement 'Paycheck'?", older workers are actively saving for retirement, but few are aware of the income distribution options currently available. According to John Kim, president,
Prudential Retirement:
Even those who are conscientious savers and investors, including Baby Boomers now aged 55-58, aren't prepared to convert their retirement savings into a predictable retirement paycheck that they can’t outlive. . . . We believe our survey should be a 'wake-up call' to employers, to retirement-plan providers and to the nation as a whole that those nearing retirement need help in managing the payout phase of retirement, especially in light of current discussions on Social Security.
Source: News Release Prudential Financial, Inc. (February 23, 2005)

Number of Workers Over 75 Increasing

"An increasing number of Americans are staying employed past age 75, earning income that's a perk for some, a necessity for others," according to a story by LA Times Staff Writer Catherine Saillant. She says that Labor Department statistics show that the number of employed workers 75 and older grew from 669,000 in 1994 to just under 1 million last year. According to Bonnie Parks, who runs the Senior Worker Advocate Office of California's Employment Development Department, companies are more open to hiring older people because of labor shortages, but once workers reach about 75, employers worry that those in their 80s and 90s might not have the strength or mental capacity to get the job done.

Source: "A New Wrinkle in Workforce" Los Angeles Times (February 24, 2005)

Older Worker Participation Rate Up As US Overall Hits 17-Year Low

The Associated Press is reporting that "[t]he share of the working-age population working or actively seeking a job - known as the participation rate - fell to 65.8 percent in January, the lowest reading in 17 years, according to numbers collected by the Labor Department." However, iIn an article that discusses the difficulty in obtaining a new job after losing one, it also reports that "the rate for workers 55 and older has been rising - perhaps reflecting older workers' concerns about building a nest egg as they look ahead toward retirement," according to analysts.

Source: "Working-Age People With Jobs on Decline" Associated Press (February 24, 2005)

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Bringing Solutions for Older Workers to Homogeneous Design Community

Writing after delivering a keynote address at the third international conference on universal design, organized by Boston-based nonprofit Adaptive Environments, Susan S. Szenasy, Metropolis Editor in Chief, reports on repeated indictments of design professionals:
"Architects don't want anyone to use their buildings," laments an aging advocate of accessible design. "Designers are ageists," another notes. "The design professions are populated by a young workforce that tends to design for its peers; they're unsympathetic to the aged."
Looking for a solution, she wonders about the lively debates that might occur in design studios if design and architecture schools start to attract older, more mature students who bring the real-life experiences of aging and disability into the studio.

Source: "Designing for Diversity" Metropolis Magazine (March 2005; posted February 22, 2005)

UK: Britain Ahead of Europe on Employment

In a keynote speech to a Work Foundation seminar on "Tackling Worklessness - Delivering Employment Opportunity for All," England's Minister for Work Jane Kennedy said that 2 million less women would have jobs and more than a million people over 55 would be workless if Britain’s employment rate was the same as the average EU rate. "While the rest of the EU still faced a significant challenge to meet employment targets set in Lisbon in 2000, Britain had already achieved and exceeded these and was now aiming way beyond them with its aspirational target of an 80 per cent employment rate," she added. The older worker (55-64) rate set in Lisbon in 2000 was for 50 per cent employment; the UK rate is 56 per cent.

Source: News Release Department for Work and Pensions (February 23, 2005)

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

United States Has Better Demographic Picture than Europe

Commentary responding to those analysts and policymakers taht obsessing over what happens when the baby boom becomes the "geezer glut.":
Two key ingredients of growth are increases in the labor force and productivity. If countries can't maintain the size of their labor forces -- say, by persuading older workers to retire later, getting stay-at-home wives to find jobs, or taking in more immigrants -- they must boost productivity to maintain current growth levels. That will be a particular challenge in Europe, where productivity growth has averaged just 1.3% since 1995.
The United States is considered to be in relatively healthy shape despite the hand-wringing over Social Security and Medicare. It has a slightly higher fertility rate and an annual intake of 900,000 legal immigrants, sop that its median age will rise just three years, to 39, over the next quarter-century, before the aging of America really starts to accelerate.

Source: " Global Ageing" (February 22, 2005)

Monday, February 21, 2005

Anticipating Retirement of Boomers

First of two-part series contrasts two visions of the future: boomers retiring from workforce in massive wave and free-spending boomers haven't saved enough to quit and too work-obsessed to leave before they have to be carried out.

Source: "Retirement of baby boomers may reverberate in workplace" Seattle Times (February 21, 2005)

Laid-off Older Workers Bridge the Retirement Gap

Aticle by by Marilyn Gardner about older workers who are too young to retire and have trouble getting rehired, with stories about how many of them, facing a midlife career crisis, find ways to get by.

Source: "Laid off at 50: How some bridge the retirement gap" Christian Science Monitor (February 7, 2005)

Missouri Seeks Nominations for Older Worker of the Year

The Missouri Senior Employment Coordinating Committee announces that the competition is on for the best older worker of 2005. Now in its 15th year, Missouri’s annual Older Worker of the Year contest seeks to crown a Missouri resident who is 55 years of age or older, gainfully employed at a Missouri job for an average of 20 or more hours per week, and displayed dependability, loyalty, new skills and self-motivation on the job.

Source: News Release Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services (January 31, 2004)

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Maintaining Mental Health in Older Workers

In the second part of a two-part series, Cynthia Roth, president and CEO of Ergonomic Technologies Corp., offers employers advice on what they can do to encourage good mental health and performance among older employees.
Like physical exercise, memory exercise may not always be easy and the results may not always be immediately evident, but the potential benefits are worth the effort. The earlier you start, the better, but it's never too late. Encourage your employees to read and do crossword puzzles, and educate them on what is available.
Source: "How to Protect the Aging Work Force" Occupational Hazards (February 18, 2005)

Friday, February 18, 2005

Chamber Launches Pension Coalition

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced the formation of a broad, national coalition across industry sectors to advance retirement security through the voluntary, employer-sponsored plan system. According to Randel K. Johnson, vice president of labor, immigration and employee benefits policy, "[i]n the face of an aging workforce and an international competitive environment, there are serious challenges facing the employer provided retirement system, particularly in the defined benefit area.”

Source: News Release U.S. Chamber of Commerce (February 17, 2005)

Singapore: Needs To Tap Ageing Working Population

"Singapore companies and industries have to come to grips with two demographic realities. First, the proportion of young workers to the total working population is dwindling. Second, older workers will make up an increasingly larger segment of the total job market in years to come." Soh Tiang Keng suggests that the government must continue to raise the retiremeent age, that employers need to identify jobs or look for alternative possibilities for older workers, including offering jobs with low fixed salary but higher flexible payout depending on sales and performance, and employees must scale down their expectations and be prepared to be retrained to fit into new types of jobs.

Source: "Mature workers: The vital force" Today Online (February 18, 2005)

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Experience Works Seeking "America's Oldest Worker"

Experience Works, a training and employment organization for mature workers, has launched its annual search for "America's Oldest Worker." To be considered as America’s Oldest Worker, applicants must work a minimum of 20 hours a week in paid employment. Applicants or the person nominating them must complete an application and submit it prior to the deadline of June 2. The honoree of the 2005 title will be announced during Experience Works(SM) Prime Time Awards week in Washington, D.C., in September.

Source: News Release Experience Works (February 18, 2005)

Census Bureau Issues Study of Older Workers in Colorado

The U.S. Census Bureau has issued a report--A Profile of Older Workers in Colorado (PDF)--finding that, in 2002, about 33 percent of working Coloradans were age 45 or older, an increase from 24 percent in 1994. The share of the Centennial State's workers who were age 65 or older increased slightly over the period, from about 1.9 percent to 2.7 percent. The analysis of Colorado's older work force is the result of a new program called Local Employment Dynamics (LED) that was created in a partnership between the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment and the Census Bureau.

Source: News Release US Newswire (February 16, 2005)

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Canada: CARP Accepting Nominations for Best Employes for 50+

CARP, Canada's Association for the Fifty-Plus and FGI announce the 2nd Annual Best Employers for 50-Plus Canadians Award to spotlight organizations that use innovative workplace solutions with their mature workers to support business goals while creating job satisfaction in Canadian organizations. Applications will be accepted until June 30, 2005 amd are available at

Source: News Release Canada Newswire Group (February 15, 2005)

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Australia: Workers over 45 will solve the labour shortage

Drake International has issued a white paper predicting that Australia will face permanent labour shortages across many industry sectors and occupations by 2010, due to the country's ageing population. Thus, knowing how to attract older employees could mean the difference between a thriving business and an ailing one in the next decade and beyond. According to a news story:
To prepare for the future, Drake's white paper encourages business owners and managers to assess their organisation's current age profile, review recruitment and induction processes for their age-friendliness and to explore new approaches to skill development that promote retention past current retirement ages.
Source: News article from Daily Telegraph (February 15, 2005)

Canada: Home Depot Canada and Canada 50+ Associations Form Partnership

The Home Depot Canada and CARP, Canada's
Association for the Fifty-Plus
have formed an exclusive hiring partnership. The hiring relationship with CARP allows The Home Depot to reach Canada's 50+ population and expand its workforce, as well as better meet the diverse needs of its
customers. It will also benefit from CARP's expertise in understanding exactly what kind of employment opportunities best suit the 50+ prospect, making it a mutually rewarding relationship for both the retailer and the associate. This follows the creation of a similar partnership between The Home Depot and the AARP started in February 2004 in the United States.

Source: News Release Canada Newswire Group (February 15, 2005)

Monday, February 14, 2005

Survey Shows Fear Of Hitting The Gray Ceiling Looms Large

A survey conducted of 404 executives by ExecuNet, a job search and recruiting network, shows that age discrimination continues to be a serious problem in corporate America. Despite a steadily improving employment market, 89% are concerned they may soon be discriminated against on the basis of their age and 63% believe age discrimination has become more widespread during the past 5 years. The majority (86%), blame the economy and recent business realignment for putting older executives at a greater risk of being discriminated against on the basis of age.

Source: Press Release ExecutNet (January 18, 2005)

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Air Traffic Controllers Challenge FAA Plans on Maintaining Workforce

National Air Traffic Controllers Association President John Carr says that not only is the staffing crisis worsening, but the FAA's plan to replace an aging workforce is too little and too late. According to the Association, the FAA has revealed that there are only 14,934 controllers in the system today, down from 15,613 just a year ago. "Just 48 days after telling Congress in a much anticipated report that it planned to hire 1,249 air traffic controllers in fiscal year 2006 to begin a decade-long commitment to addressing a looming staffing crisis, the Federal Aviation Administration's budget request today called for only 595 new hires next fiscal year, breaking its promise to the American public that it will adequately protect air safety."

Source: News Release National Air Traffic Controllers Association February 7, 2005

Utilities Prepare To Deal with "Wave Formation" of Potential Retirees

In addition to an aging utility infrastructure--the "recurring joke being that most of the nation's power plants, transformers and distribution systems are now eligible for AARP membership," utilities are also finding that the workforce they rely upon to operate and maintain the electrical system is nearly as old:

We have a graph that shows how the demographic of our workforce is this huge wave," [Anne] Grier [vice president of human resources for Dominion Resources] said. "We have 25 percent eligible to retire in 2007 and 45 percent by 2012," she explained. "We call it The Wave."

Focusing on efforts by the HR department at Dominion Resources, this article suggests that the first place that energy companies need to start is to assess their potential vulnerabilities and then make a plan and offers a series of things that a company can do before a large portion of its workforce walks out the door.

Source: "The Business Electric: An Aging Dominion Does The Wave" Energy Pulse January 17, 2005

Friday, February 11, 2005

Improving Internet Access for Aging Workforce

Article in Internet Week touting IBM's Home Page Reader Web browser for Windows that automatically enhances websites to make them easier to use by seniors and others with less-than-ideal eyesight also talks about how this can help in the workplace, too:
Improving access to the Internet and computers is also expected to help the nation's aging workforce. Workers between the ages 55 and 64 are increasing in population by about 2 percent per year. Among those with disabilities, half of them work full or part-time on a computer, according to figures from the NOD and the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.
Source: "Making The Web A Sight For Sore Eyes" Internet Week January 26, 2005

Tools: Home Page Reader 3.04, which includes Trial Downloads and Complimenary Download customized for AAPD visitors.

Mature Workers Have More Passion for Work

A survey released on February 8 from Harris Interactive, Inc., conducted for Age Wave and The Concours Group finds that "mature workers 55 and over are more likely
to say their organization inspires the best in them than are younger workers
(18-34 years old) by a margin of 43 to 28 percent." In addition, the survey shows:
  • Inspired 'mature' workers: the most engaged and willing to put forth
    extra effort;
  • Dissatisfied 'young' workers: burned out, looking to make a change;
  • 'Mid-career' workers: toiling more and enjoying it less
Source: Press Release "Where's the Passion for Work? It's in Workers Over 55!" from PR Newswire (HTML) or The Councours Group (PDF)

Idahoans Delaying Retirement

U-S Census Bureau stats project that by 2010 Idaho's aging workforce could make up 20% of the total workforce in Idaho. Already, more and more Idahoans are delaying retirement.

Source: "Idaho's Older Workers" Idaho News Channel 6

INPUT Projects 45% of Federal IT Workforce Will Be Age 50 or Older by FY 2008

INPUT, a Reston, VA, consultant issued a report on January 28 "Aging Federal IT Workforce: Trends and Solutions" finding that "the number of federal IT workers age 50 or older will steadily increase over the next several years from 38 percent in fiscal year 2003 (FY03) to 45 percent by FY08" and that "the federal government will increasingly look to outside IT vendors for the time and resources necessary to accomplish its missions.”

Source: INPUT Inc., Press Release

Finns Increasingly Working Past Retirement Age

In a special report on Global Again, Business Week reports that "economists are holding up Finland as the country most successful at convincing workers to stay on the job longer. Finland's average retirement age already has edged up from 56.6 in 1997 to 59 in 2004, while the employment rate of 55- to 64-year-olds has jumped from 36% to nearly 50% -- one of the highest gains in the European Union." While there is plenty of work ahead, "the wake-up call has spurred companies to experiment as never before with getting the best out of older workers."

Business Week, January 31, 2005 "Retire? More Finns Are Thinking Twice" and "Aging More Productively in Finland"

Gartner Urges IT Community Prepare for Shortages

people3, Gartner's Human Capital Management Practice issues a report "The Incredible Shrinking Workforce: Addressing Tomorrow's Issues Today," that urges CIOs to create a plan today to deal with a worker shortage in seven years. "In the case of addressing aging workforce issues, organizations will need to have an outlook plan and plan for a longer time frame (10 years or beyond) depending on the existing demographic profiles of the workforce."

Source: Press Release TMCNet

Upstate New York Facing Dramatically Aging Workforce

A report is out that the New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals (NYATEP) has issued a report on the "State of the New York State Workforce" that, among other things, finds that Upstate New York, in particular, faces challenges with a dramatically aging workforce.

Source: Press Release

Detroit Lawyer Predicts Rise in ADEA Complaints

In an article in the Detroit Free Press, despite "futurists' upbeat forecasts" that "the aging of the baby boom generation will usher in a golden era for older workers," because employers "will be so desperate for talented people that they'll woo older workers with all manner of perks and promises to keep them on the job," lawyers "involved in age discrimination lawsuits say we're more likely to see a rise in the number of discrimination complaints and, at the very least, more hard feelings among older workers."

Source: "Pushed out the door early, and resenting it" Detroit Free Press December 29, 2004