Best Employers for Mid-Life Career Changers

Where is the best place to look for a job if you are over 40 or 50 and want or need to make a career change?

Don't assume that your age is necessarily a negative.

A growing number of U.S. and international employers are recognizing that the population is aging and people are working longer. To address this some innovative companies have developed policies and practices to meet their staffing needs and the needs of mature workers.

So what do these companies do to attract mature workers?

Some examples of policies and hiring practices are:

  • offer part-time and flexible work schedules
  • offer benefits to part-time employees
  • use of senior placement agencies for recruiting
  • onsite child care for grandchildren as well as children of employees
  • phased retirement programs
  • ongoing retiree groups maintain contact with those who have left employment
  • access to retirement planning, workshops and information

Statistics predict that by 2016 one third of U.S.workforce will be over 50, and that's up from 28% in 2007. I f people are working longer, they are more likely to make multiple career changes, especially over age 40 or 50. As the pool of younger workers shrinks it is important for employers to attract experienced workers to fill their skill shortages and retain a competitive edge in their industry.

People over 50 who work tend to have different values and motivations than younger people. Workers over 50 may not be as motivated by promotions, mobility or money. Mature employees tend to be better communicators and are more empathetic and understanding. Any industry seeking excellent customer service can benefit from having mature workers as their public face, and many do.

AARP conducts a biannual survey of the Best Employers for Workers Over 50.

Here are the top 10 (out of 50) from the 2011 survey:

1. Scripps Health

2. Cornell University

3. National Institutes of Health

4. First Horizon National Corp.

5. West Virginia University

6. YMCA of Greater Rochester

7. Atlantic Health Systems

8. Mercy Health System

9. Bon Secours Richmond Health System

10. The Aerospace Corporation

You'll notice that most on this list and among all winners seem to fall within the health care, education and finance industries. This seems also to correlate the areas of predicted job growth over the next ten years as well.