For more than a decade, AARP has recognized employers with progressive policies toward recruiting and retaining older employees. Now, the nonprofit has teamed up with the Society for Human Resource Management to cosponsor the AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50 awards as applications are accepted for the 2013 search.

The new joint initiative was announced at this week’s 2012 SHRM annual conference in Atlanta. It is expected to increase the reach of the program by attracting more applicants, and by sharing award winners’ best practices with a broader audience.

“We are delighted that SHRM will be joining us as we move forward with an important program that both identifies innovative employers and serves as a model for others seeking to better meet the needs of experienced workers,” said A. Barry Rand, AARP’s CEO. “SHRM and its members have a unique perspective on employer policies around the country, a perspective that will help better pinpoint forward-looking practices.”

SHRM President and CEO Henry G. Jackson added: “Every organization needs to view its older workers as highly valuable assets and develop strategies to keep this enormous wealth of talent. It’s absolutely critical for organizations to embrace new ways to retain older workers, especially in the face of the coming wave of boomer retirements.”

AARP created the Best Employers program in 2001. Award recipients include such diverse organizations as Scripps Health of Southern California, a major hospital and health care provider, Cornell University and L.L Bean. To learn more or to apply (deadline Nov. 12), visit www.aarp.org/bestemployers or www.shrm.org/aarp.  

In a related development, AARP and SHRM released the results of a national telephone survey last month of 1,000 workers age 50 and over that probed their views on a variety of work-related issues. Key findings of the survey, which involved both those with jobs and those seeking work, include:

  • Nearly eight in 10 (78%) of respondents say that financial reasons (including health insurance) are the primary motivation for working or looking for work now. About one in five (19%) say the primary reason s non-financial, such as enjoyment or the desire to be productive.
  • More than three quarters (77%) of employed 50-and-over workers plan to remain in their current job until they stop working completely. A smaller percentage of unemployed workers (52%) say they would prefer to find a job in the same field as their previous job. Just over one in four (27%) unemployed workers would prefer to find a job in a different field, and nearly one in five (18%) would prefer to start their own business.

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