September: Retirees in the Service Sector

Retirees in the Service Sector

As more and more Americans remain in the workforce longer, Path Forward is highlighting opportunities provided by the Service Industry for older and retired Americans – as many of them choose to continue working for the fulfillment that comes with it.

Quick Facts and Industry Efforts

  • 72% of adults over the age of 50 say they want to keep working after they retire, and nearly half (47%) of current retirees say they either have worked or plan to work during retirement, according to a survey conducted by Merrill Lynch Bank of America Corp.
  • According to the National Retail Federation’s study,Retail’s Value on a Resume: How Jobs in Retail Prepare America’s Workforce for Success,” among retail employees age 55 and up:
    • More than half (53%) say they took the position for the flexible work schedule
    • 74% agree that retail is a good environment for working
    • 81% are satisfied with their retail job and 87% are happy working in retail
  • The AARP Employer Pledge Program, which is a national effort to help employers solve their current and future staffing challenges and direct job seekers to employers that value and are hiring experienced workers. Participating organizations have signed a pledge that they:
    • Believe in equal opportunity for all workers, regardless of age
    • Believe that 50+ workers should have a level playing field in their ability to compete for and obtain jobs
    • Recognize the value of experienced workers
    • Recruit across diverse age groups and consider all applicants on an equal basis

What Baby Boomers Bring to the Service Industry

According to U.S. News and World Report, “many employers want to hire baby boomers who have good communication skills and can effectively sell products to older customers.” The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that retail sales jobs will grow by nearly 10 percent by 2022, and many of these positions are expected to be filled by older Americans. Matthew Rutledge, a research economist at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, said: “At Costco and BJ’s or other big box stores you’ll often find them giving away food samples or demonstrating products, and those are the jobs that are fairly well staffed by older workers who are good at communication.”

Retirees’ Experiences

The experience of 68-year-old George Tannehill helps detail why retirees turn to the service sector. The Columbus Dispatch piece, Older job-seekers touted to Ohio businesses, not only captures Tannehill’s story of coping with financial strains, but also highlights how he “needed to find something that would give him a sense of purpose and meaning again.” Tannehill added: “I’m a person that needs lifelong learning and can’t be doing nothing.”

Five years after retiring from the service sector, Steve Davis realized he missed the community he had at work and decided to start his second career at the same company. Davis was hired under the Returning Retirees Program to help train new employees, and he happily returned back to work with the same passion he had before retiring. Watch Davis talk more about his experience in this video by USA Today.