Each year the AARP names the 50 best employers for workers over age 50. The list has particular relevance this year because more older Americans are working or seeking work than before the recession began.
Nearly 27.2 million people age 55 and older were employed in August, an increase of 3.6 percent since the recession began, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And while the unemployment rate for the total labor force reached 9.7 percent in August, far fewer older workers (6.8 percent) were looking for work. “Older adults’ labor force participation rates fell during past recessions, but have increased steeply during the current downturn,” say Richard Johnson and Corina Mommaerts of the Urban Institute in an analysis of the latest unemployment numbers. “This change likely reflects growing anxiety about retirement security.”
Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. topped AARP’s annual list for the second year in a row. AARP highlighted Cornell’s phased retirement program, a highly subsidized retiree health and prescription drug plan, paid time off for care giving, and free retiree access to university classes. Over 200 employers applied for AARP’s employer honors, based on criteria that include employee health and retirement benefits, retiree work opportunities, and workplace accommodations, such as flexible scheduling, job sharing, and phased retirement.
The second-place finisher, financial services company First Horizon National Corporation in Memphis, Tenn., has an employee relations manager who focuses on the needs of retirees and employees approaching retirement and offers individual financial counseling on various retirement scenarios, AARP says. And the National Institutes of Health, a federal agency based in Bethesda, Md., was highlighted for its many older employees who continue to work beyond the traditional retirement age: The scientific staff remains employed an average of 7 years beyond the date of retirement eligibility and administrative employees typically stick around for 4 years after their retirement date.
Here is AARP’s list of the 10 Best Employers for Workers Over Age 50.
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