More Employers Hiring Older Workers, Survey Finds

By Roy Maurer Feb 27, 2015
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Over half of workers (54 percent) nearing retirement age plan to continue working after retiring from their current career, up from 45 percent only one year ago, according to a study released by CareerBuilder.

The good news is that a majority of employers are hiring mature employees or plan to do so. Fifty-four percent of private-sector employers hired workers age 50 and older in 2014—up six points from the previous year’s 48 percent—and 57 percent plan to do so in 2015.

The nationwide survey was conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder in late 2014, among 438 full-time workers age 60 and older and 2,192 hiring and human resource managers.

Jobs in customer service, retail and consulting are the three most common areas retiring workers plan to pursue. Of this group, 81 percent said they will most likely work part time, while 19 percent plan to continue working full time.

The survey also found 53 percent of workers age 60 and older are currently delaying retirement, down from 58 percent last year and 66 percent in 2010, indicating that economic confidence among senior workers may be significantly improving.

Other findings include:

  • Three-quarters of surveyed workers currently delaying retirement cite the 2007-09 recession as a cause.
  • Twelve percent don’t think they will ever be able to retire, up slightly from 11 percent last year.
  • The inability to retire due to the household financial situation is the No. 1 reason given (78 percent) for delaying retirement. The need for health insurance and benefits follows at 60 percent.
  • Twenty-eight percent are delaying retirement because “they enjoy where they work” and 26 percent “fear retirement may be boring.”
  • A majority of senior workers not planning to work post-retirement intend to focus on relaxation (70 percent), followed by spending time with family and friends (57 percent).

Utilize Older Workers’ value

Companies today cannot afford to neglect talent at any age. “In this new reality, younger managers should be encouraged to give older employees a chance to learn and grow and be competitive,” said Ronald C. Pilenzo, Ph.D., SPHR, president and CEO of The Global HR Consultancy, based in Hobe Sound, Fla. “Companies should take advantage of the skills of older employees and they should be correctly positioned in jobs that match their skill level as well as the job to be done.” Older employees should feel that the company is interested in their contributions and will include them in training programs, and consider them for advancement if they are qualified and interested, Pilenzo explained.

He gave the following example from his own career: The company faced the problem of a worker nearing retirement age who, even though he had been a top salesman, was nonetheless becoming disengaged, or “retiring in his own job.”

“Sal was grinding down. We needed to gradually begin to train one or more replacements and [decided to] use Sal as an ‘inside trainer’ and mentor for his replacement and other sales personnel in the department,” Pilenzo remembered. “This would solve two problems and keep Sal motivated in a new job. We could also reduce his work time and hours to ease him on his way to his retirement over the last two to three years of service. More companies should consider this type of approach and use mature workers and even retirees for special assignments when needed.”

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Follow him @SHRMRoy​​​

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