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Wahves, Take a Bow: It’s National Employ Older Workers Week

national employ older workers week

A lot has changed since the 1950s when the Eisenhower administration first proclaimed National Employ Older Workers Week. Conceived as an effort to promote retraining of older workers, the week is a timely reminder of demographic changes that make wahves an attractive and vital part of our workforce.

According to the Department of Labor (DOL), National Employ Older Workers Week is held the last full week of September to “increase awareness of this labor segment and develop innovative strategies to tap it.” To us, that sounds like an invitation for wahves to take a bow!

As the DOL notes, the U.S. is undergoing a demographic shift that is changing older Americans’ relation to the workplace. By 2020, the department states, workers 55 and over will make up 25% of the U.S. civilian labor force, up from 13% in 2000.

“Employers rate older workers high on characteristics such as judgment, commitment to quality, attendance and punctuality,” the DOL adds. But we knew that!

Insurance firms are also beginning to see the value of hiring vintage workers who aren’t ready to retire. The accounting firm PwC reports that the industry faces “a potentially massive loss of skilled, knowledgeable workers” as large numbers of older insurance workers approach their traditional retirement dates.

The good news is that wahves can fill the gap. A study by Aon Hewitt concludes that “workers aged 50-plus can help employers address current and future talent shortages.”

Writing in the AARP Bulletin on “The Value of Older Workers,” T.R. Reid reminds us that hiring skilled, vintage workers can be “a boon to employers, a boost for the U.S. economy and a bonus for the workers. For employers, the ‘unretired’ provide a pool of experienced labor that has proved to be productive, dedicated and loyal.”

So let’s give a high five to wahves during National Employ Older Workers Week for contributing to the economy, fulfilling important staffing needs at insurance firms, and staying active and financially independent well into their golden years.

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