Last week, Waltham, Mass.-based RetirementJobs.com, a web site for job-seekers age 50+, announced its rankings of Fortune 500 employers by their percentage of workers over age 50.
The findings, pulled from public records and surveys of employers and employees, show the airline industry as having the highest percentage of employees over age 50. American Airlines held the top slot with 39 percent of its staff over age 50. Google ranked among the lowest on the list, with just 13 percent topping that age threshold.
“It is helpful to age 50+ job seekers and existing employees to understand which companies and industries tend to employ a disproportionately high or low percentage of mature workers,” Tim Driver, RetirementJobs.com founder and CEO explains.
But these are just statistics. “We do not have information on whether or not these employers have committed to hiring older workers. We simply know that they do or do not tend to already employ older workers,” he says.
The fact is that many firms do have a true desire to hold on to older workers for the experience and expertise they provide in a competitive environment. I admit, though, it’s hard to get a read from the Retirementjobs.com list precisely which ones these are, but it makes a great starting point. I encourage you to give all of the top firms on this survey the benefit of the doubt that they get it.
Before you judge those employers with the least amount of older workers too harshly, consider the business. There can be a good explanation for this list’s caboose companies. Maybe it really is a young person’s game.
Younger employees are the nature of the beast at investment banks, for example, that typically recruit droves of college grads or those with newly printed MBAs in their pocket. So it doesn’t surprise me to see Blackrock (#449), JPMorgan Chase (#460) and Goldman Sachs (#498) lagging behind on this list.
Here are some of my general takeaway notions:
- If you’re in this age bracket and pounding the pavement, or keyboard as the case may be, to find a job, it can’t hurt to check out what openings there might be with firms that appear to value older workers.
- You might also have an easier time finding peers who currently work at one of these firms that favor keeping folks your age on their rosters, or know someone who does.
- One explanation for a company having a sizeable chunk of older workers on board: It can be a sign of a unionized work force. Unions tend to shelter workers with lengthy job tenure from layoffs.
- A senior-sized workforce can also be indicative of a company-wide layoff policy: The old last in, first out approach to layoffs can keep older workers around longer.
Ok. Enough throat-clearing. Drumroll, please. Here are your winners and losers:
Industries Ranked by Percentage of Employees Age 50 and Older
6. Aerospace & Defense
7. Packaging & Containers
8. Forest & Paper Products
9. Food Production
Top Ten Fortune 500 Companies by percentage of Employees Age 50 and Older
1. American Airlines (AMR) 39.157%
2. Eastman Kodak 38.420%
3. TravelCenters of America 38.387%
4. Delta Air Lines 37.688%
5. United Airlines (UAL) 37.648%
6. Weyerhaeuser 36.877%
7. Edison International 36.225%
8. Northeast Utilities 36.127%
9. Smithfield Foods 35.948%
10. United Services Automobile Association 35.459%
Bottom Ten Fortune 500 Companies by Percentage of Older Workers
1. AECOM Technology; 6.041 percent of employees age 50 and older
2. Auto-Owners Insurance; 9.802 percent
3. Goldman Sachs Group; 11.331 percent
4. C.H. Robinson Worldwide; 12.042 percent
5. Google; 12.855 percent
6. Electronic Arts; 13.620 percent
7. Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold; 14.216 percent
8. Chesapeake Energy; 14.269 percent
9. Nordstrom; 14.269 percent
10. Consol Energy; 14.278 percent
For more ideas of employers to approach, check out AARP’s Best Employers for Workers Over 50. This is a biennial program, and those currently listed are the 2009 winners. The 2011 list will be out this fall. The AARP program chooses from a variety of employers in the non-profit and for-profit sectors as well as public employers at the local, state, and federal levels.