March 23, 2005
After years of encouraging workers to take early retirement as a way to cut jobs, now a growing number of companies are hunting for older workers.
Senior Mildred Hawkins has been working at Home Instead Senior Care for almost a year. "I like it very much, I like people," said Hawkins.
The owner of Home Instead, Jeanne McCusker, said she would prefer to hire seniors like Hawkins.
"A majority of our folks are in their 50s, 60s and 70s," said McCusker. That's true of all of her employees except one. Hawkins just celebrated her 80th birthday on Tuesday.
Some businesses like Wal-Mart and Home Depot are also recruiting older workers online with offers of health benefits, training, and flexible work schedules.
"They come in and say that they want to work 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. one day a week but then they end up working extended shifts because they enjoy being out and being active," said McCusker.
Officials say that traditionally, workers become more costly as they grow older, with more medical problems and more missed workdays. Now some say that's not the case.
"I think that most folks that want to work are very healthy and want to be active and it's actually improving their health by working verses sitting at home doing nothing," said McCusker.
The turnover rate for employees 50 and older is one tenth that of workers under 30.
"We definitely see our older care givers stick around for awhile. They are very reliable; they have a great work ethic based on how they were raised," said McCusker.
Still, others aren't as fortunate as Hawkins--not every senior citizen can work for fun.
"Some of their [offered] social security doesn't meet their needs," said Hawkins.