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Attracting and Retaining Older Workers to Your Workplace

​As  unemployment rates fall to pre-pandemic levels and workers are resigning at alarming rates for better opportunities, more jobs are being left vacant for longer.  Although older workers today are better educated, living longer and staying in the workplace longer than those of previous generations, discrimination and outdated assumptions about them persist. Breaking down age bias can help organizations during the labor shortage.

While 64 percent of CEOs report having diversity and inclusion initiatives in place, a mere 8 percent include age as part of their efforts, according to PwC research

Diversity Initiatives Pie Chart

64% of CEOs report having diversity and inclusion initiatives in place but only
8% include age as part of their efforts.

Source: PwC Research.

In a June 2018 report from the EEOC, Victoria Lipnic, acting chair, wrote, "Age discrimination remains a significant and costly problem for workers, their families, and our economy. Age-diverse teams and workforces can improve employee engagement, performance, and productivity. Experienced workers have talent that our economy cannot afford to waste."

Many Baby Boomers and members of Generation X plan to work past the traditional retirement age of 65. A 2017 Gallup poll found that 74 percent of U.S. adults intend to remain employed past retirement age.

Workers older than 65 make up the fastest-growing segment of the labor force, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of people ages 65 and older who are still working is expected to rise to 29 percent by 2060, from 19 percent today. Recruiting older workers gives companies an edge in finding the right talent—and in employing workers who can relate to clients and customers of an older demographic.

Research indicates that multigenerational workforces are more productive and have less turnover than those without age diversity

Myths and Misconceptions

Declining performance. Studies show that there is no relationship between age and loss of innovation or overall job performance. In fact, older workers appear to be more comfortable with change than their Millennial counterparts.

Increased costs. An AARP published study, A Business Case for Older Workers, found that the correlation between aging employees and employer costs is now minimal, in part because employers focus more on performance now rather than seniority when compensating workers.

Technological challenges. With the right resources and training, older workers learn as easily as other workers and often embrace technology that is helpful in performing their jobs. A Dropbox survey of more than 4,000 IT workers around the world found that workers ages 55 and older and those ages 18 to 34 used nearly the same number of forms of technology a week.

Absenteeism. AARP’s research shows that older workers take fewer sick days than younger workers. 

Best Practices for Recruiting and Retaining Older Workers

How to Avoid Ageism

Demonstrate Your Commitment to Experienced Workers

The AARP Employer Pledge Program is a nationwide group of employers that stand with AARP in affirming the value of experienced workers and are committed to developing diverse organizations.



AARP research conducted with SHRM found that workers ages 50 and older wanted competitive benefits and flexible work arrangements. Businesses are responding by offering reduced hours, flexible scheduling and phased retirement and by hiring retirees as consultants or temporary workers.


Recruitment Strategies

​Include people of all ages in your diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategy. 

​Look for and eliminate practices and policies that exclude older workers such as messages displayed on the company website or in announcements that only showcase images of employees in their 20s and 30s.

​Remove questions from  job applications that ask age-related questions such as date of birth or when a person graduated.

​Include older workers on your interview panels.

​Avoid terms in job ads like “high-potential” and “energetic” which can be viewed as code for “young.” Instead, create recruitment messages that specify "mature," "experienced" and "reliable" to let older candidates know that they are encouraged to apply for employment.

​Develop employee resource groups that are multigenerational and use employees' personal stories as a way to challenge age stereotypes.

​Offer benefits that tend to appeal to older workers, such as health insurance, retirement benefits and long-term-care insurance.

​Make employee learning and development programs available to all employees. 

​Create alumni social networking groups and host social events where the company can entice retirees as well as other older adults to return to work for the company.

​Rely on internal referral programs only if the workforce is already age-diverse.

Recruitment Sources

American Society for Aging's Career Advantage
​Allows employers to post and manage job openings, search job candidates, create a company profile and more.
A program sponsored by the AARP Foundation that provides training and tools to older adults for today’s in-demand jobs. Trusted local partners that specialize in working with older job candidates offer job search coaching, help build computer skills and match each candidate with local employer needs.
​The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)
​A federally funded program targeted to older adults seeking employment and training assistance. 
​The AARP Job Board 
​Go where the (older) job candidates are going. AARP provides a list of online job search resources for job seekers ages 50 and older. Highlight your company and post your job openings on these targeted sites to reach a diverse and mature audience. 

Additional resources

CareerOneStop – Hiring Older Workers

U.S. Department of Labor Older Worker Initiative

AARP—The Business Case for Hiring 50+ Workers

Employing Older Workers

How to Avoid Ageism


​An organization run by AI is not a futuristic concept. Such technology is already a part of many workplaces and will continue to shape the labor market and HR. Here's how employers and employees can successfully manage generative AI and other AI-powered systems.