Sunday, February 24, 2008

Retirees are in demand in the workforce

Haya El Nasser has a front page story in the print edition of the Friday Feb. 22, 2008 USA Today: "States want to tap boomers' skills: No time to relax: Retirees' experience in high demand," link here.

California has almost 9 million people over 60, and is trying to recruit retired seniors to the En Corps Teachers Program. I've written about retirees' becoming teachers on other blogs. It works well for retirees with military experience or similar, and sometimes with those who have raised kids and who have a lot of experience dealing with other people's kids with different social backgrounds. It can be problematic for those who have worked largely as "individual technical contributors" unless such people work mainly with older students (which is not necessarily where the real need is). Yet, one would think that high school students would benefit from exposure to people with thirty years in the "real world" -- but what's "real" seems to be relative.

Some technical recruiters have predicted that employers will need to hire more mainframe computer programmers again, and most of these would be older workers, but that is still unpredictable and spotty and depends on specific niche skills.

Employers may expect retirees to be open to "commission" careers in sales related to what they did. Examples would include becoming an insurance agent or financial planner, or real estate agent (maybe tough right now), or even technical sales representative.

Employers may depending on retirees already having health insurance (or Medicare), but some have been generous with benefits. When I worked for a collection agency in Minnesota in 2003, I could have had a group health plan for $49 a month out of pocket, but then I had to come back to the East Coast.

Other states discussed are Maryland, New York, and Massachusetts. Arizona has launched a "mature workforce" initiative. "Not everyone has three pensions and an IRA plan," Melanie Starns, the Arizona governor's policy adviser on aging is quoted as saying.

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