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At Joey's, a retailer in Archelian, Manhattan, shoppers grab cookies, organic balsamic vinegar from gonocchi at the last minute as employees look at an array of food boxes. This spring, the Hawaiian branded shirt, very gray, stands out.
Before the outbreak, the retail and fast-food industries included older workers. Networks like McDonald's Corporation are actively trying to hire seniors. But in the past two years, many of them left the workforce in the late 1960s and did not return in the late 1970s. In a tight labor market with fewer retailers and restaurants than from cashiers to couriers, this population is largely unused.
Companies should encourage applications from different groups of candidates and remove barriers to hiring people over the age of 55.
Over the years, older Americans continued to work longer as their life expectancies increased, and many were reluctant or unable to retire. This stopped the health crisis. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the level of labor force participation of Americans aged 55 to 64 has returned to pre-epidemic levels, but their rates still lagged in the late 1960s and in the late 1970s.
This is particularly embarrassing for the retail and hospitality sector, whose employees have to wait desperately. Older employees also bring a lot of experience, for example in how to deal with customers. A 2009 study by Lancaster University, which looked at the work of more than 400 McDonald's restaurants in the UK, found that customer satisfaction levels were on average 20% higher among employees aged 60. years and older.
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Some companies have the wisdom to turn to the elderly. AARP, an American advocacy group for seniors over 50, has created an Employer Pledge that companies can sign to show they value older employees. Through the AARP Business Council, job seekers can narrow their search to view open positions for promising signatories. In the first quarter of this year, AARP saw twice as many new signatories as in the equivalent period of 2021.
But there are other ways to reach these employees. Retailers and restaurants can increase the number of employees by ensuring employees are aware of vacancies in their stores, helping job seekers apply on the spot. How many people see older people in the store, like Walmart Inc. About 13% of the US workforce is over 60, with the rest more likely to apply.
Along with offering more benefits, from pensions to freelancers to deductions, offering flexibility will be another way to engage employees. As employers adapt to hybrid offices and assignments, they should be open to new queuing models. Many older employees want to work part-time. Caring for grandchildren and other relatives can also be short-lived.
Ben & Jerry's Pigeon Ice Cream և body wash maker Unilever plc has created a U-Work hiring program designed to combine flexibility and security. Designed as an alternative to a gig economy, it is suitable for retirees. Although U-Work is not yet available in the United States, it is available in 10 countries and has 100 participants.
For example, Unilever offered an internship for those with a competitive salary over 60 in Argentina. The company was so impressed with the applicants that it created a database for future work. The special initiative expands the skills of older American factory workers.
Indeed, it is possible to create more opportunities for seniors to develop their careers. At B&Q, where almost half the workforce is over 50, employees of all ages can be trained at a UK DIY store. Indeed, approximately 36 employees aged 50 to 64 have taken the training and 41 employees out of the 50 to 70 are in training.
It can have broad roles. Not all older people will be able to carry heavy loads or stand for long periods of time. This will go a long way in finding, hiring and retaining skills. This will help improve the workplace for other people with disabilities or health issues.
Inflation, especially for people with disruptive incomes, can encourage older people to return to work. At the same time, companies should work as hard as possible to attract different candidates. Talent can be found at any age.
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This section does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editorial staff or the owners of Bloomberg LP.
Andrea Felstad is a reviewer for Bloomberg, which covers the consumer retail industry. He previously worked for the Financial Times.
Other similar stories are available at bloomberg.com/opinion