Traditionalists Return To Work (Originally published February 2009)

Decreased retirement portfolios and increased longevity are bringing Traditionalists (born ca. 1925-1943) out of retirement. Recent Bureau of Labor statistics indicate a dramatic spike among job seekers over 75 years. Traditionalists are looking for jobs that satisfy their financial, health and social needs. Part time work, accommodations for physical disabilities and access to healthcare are priorities. In many cases, Traditionalists will compete against younger candidates who may appear more flexible in their employment needs. As a result, employers will need to be extra mindful of actions that could be perceived as age discrimination. Consider the following:
  • Do your job descriptions clearly outline the activities and qualifications required?
  • Will you need to provide training on technology or other skills for older candidates to succeed?
  • How will you handle situations in which older applicants appear overqualified? Have your recruiters and hiring managers received age discrimination training?
  • Are you equipped to handle requests for Americans with Disabilities Act workplace accommodations?
  • Do your supervisors have the skills to manage intergenerational teams?
In the coming decade the percentage of older workers will rise as the U.S. population ages. How employers manage the needs and priorities of Traditionalists will be a good indication of future workforce challenges and opportunities. Are you ready?

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