Don't overlook this booming group of prospective employees

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Lois A. Bowers
Lois A. Bowers

The senior living industry will need to add 347,000 new jobs and recruit 1.2 million new employees within the next seven years, when the oldest baby boomers will turn 79, according to Argentum.

It only makes sense to turn to some of the younger, not-yet-retired members of the generation (baby boomers currently are aged 53 to 72) to fill some of those positions. And at least four senior living organizations have committed in writing to doing just that through one national program.

The AARP's Employer Pledge Program is an effort that covers all fields in an effort to help employers solve their current and future staffing challenges and direct job-seekers to employers that value and are hiring experienced workers, defined as those aged 50 or more years.

Specifically, the AARP Employer Pledge states: “We believe in equal opportunity for all workers, regardless of age, and that 50+ workers should have a level playing field in their ability to compete for and obtain jobs. Recognizing the value of experienced workers, we pledge to recruit across diverse age groups and to consider all applicants on an equal basis as we hire for positions within our organization.”

More than 460 employers, many of them operating in the healthcare arena, have signed the pledge, according to the AARP.

In just four years, according to the organization, workers aged 50 or more years will make up 35% of the workforce. If you're not already actively looking to this population, you're missing out on numerous job candidates. The initiative also is a nice complement to LeadingAge's vision to “permanently change the image of aging in our society,” including addressing ageism in hiring.

Belmont Village Senior Living said it has seen the benefits of hiring experienced workers.

“We find that the expertise, dependability and work ethic common among the mature workforce is exactly what we look for in our employees,” Tara Arancibia, director of recruitment at Houston-based Belmont Village Senior Living, told me, noting that the company is a “proud supporter” of the Employer Pledge Program.

“Senior living is also a very attractive field for older adults who are retired or are just looking for an opportunity to be of service to others and continue to have the socialization of work,” Arancibia added.

MorningStar Senior Living Vice President of Human Resources Carolyn Reynolds said her company signed the AARP pledge a few months ago.

“At the end of the day, it's another tool for us to use to recruit talent, which every community needs,” she told me.

Companies that sign the pledge get discounts on job postings on the AARP job board, among other benefits. If you'd like to learn more about the program, visit the AARP website or email employerpledge@aarp.org.

Lois A. Bowers is senior editor of McKnight's Senior Living. Follow her on Twitter at @Lois_Bowers. Email her at lois.bowers@mcknights.com.

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