Published on: March 23, 2005The New York Times reports this morning that “after years of encouraging workers to take early retirement as a way to cut jobs, a growing number of companies are hunting for older workers because they have lower turnover rates and, in many cases, better work performance.
“Some companies like Wal-Mart are making their pitches at senior centers and others are sending company brochures to churches and community libraries and posting their attractions on Web sites.
“AARP, the advocacy group for older people, recently put on its Web site links to 13 "featured employers" - including MetLife, Pitney Bowes, Borders, Home Depot, Principal Financial and Walgreens - that are recruiting older workers with offers of health benefits, training and flexible work schedules. More than 71,000 people have used the Web site this month to seek job information.”
One of the interesting twists: national chains are being extremely flexible about the jobs they offer senior citizens. The NYT notes that one man who works for Home Depot works half the year in Pennsylvania and the remainder of the time in Florida – which works for him and works for Home Depot.
At Borders, 16 percent of the company’s employees are 50 or older, compared to six percent a half-dozen years ago.
- KC's View:
- As the calendar pages turn, we find stories like this to be immensely reassuring.
The challenge, of course, is that these workers need to be able to relate to shoppers who are getting younger and younger.
But this is a great opportunity for supermarkets. After all, people used to have their moms around to tell them about how to make this or do that. But mom may now live halfway around the world or be busy with the intricacies of her life; the old back fence, across which much information was communicated, no longer exists (though there is the virtual version on the Internet). But older folks who could help these younger shoppers understand how to prepare certain kinds of food and how to feed their families responsibly – those goes a long way toward making the store more of a resource of information as opposed to just a source of product.