Civil engineer looking toward the future and smilingMore and more employers are finding it cost effective to utilize boomers, seniors and even “retirees” on a part-time or project assignment basis. Temp firms have been using this resource successfully for years.

An older worker generally needs less training, has a better work ethic and will often take a temporary or project assignment for far less than the hourly rate the person commanded when he or she was working full-time. Employers usually do not have to pay benefits so hiring from this age demographic is a win-win for both as older workers often have less need for benefits than they did when they were younger and raising a family.

A common problem employers have when posting temporary or part-time jobs on general job boards is the huge quantity of response. It is difficult to separate the qualified applicants from candidates that match the job description. Older workers are much less likely to “apply” for jobs that are not a realistic match for their experience and abilities. Some job boards like this one allow posters of jobs to ask up to three qualifying questions at no charge to help focus their response.

Common Misconceptions and Stereotypes

The perception that older workers are less productive than younger ones is false. Numerous studies and research have shown that older workers’ productivity does not fall but rises because of greater dependability, better judgment and accuracy. Studies have shown older workers actually miss less work than younger workers and can learn new techniques and technologies effectively.

Advantages of Hiring Older Workers

Older workers generally have a better work ethic, are more dependable, tend to be more loyal and are more appreciative of having a job and care about doing a “good” job. They are also less likely to be looking for a full-time job while working temporary or part-time.

  • Studies have identified older workers’ assets (compared to younger) as having:
  • Lower absenteeism;
  • A more positive attitude;
  • A commitment to quality;
  • More experience;
  • Superior customer service skills;
  • Better people skills; and
  • Being more punctual, more eager to learn new skills and less likelihood to change jobs.

Reaching Boomers and Older Workers for Temporary and Part-Time Assignments

Many older workers seeking temporary employment will not apply for positions that may be appropriate for them as they often feel they will be discriminated against because of their age. This is a good reason to go to job sites that specifically target this age demographic and allow screening questions to help limit response to more hirable candidates. It is also a reason to craft a message more tailored to this demographic. Check this resource, which provides posting information, links, costs, etc.


Few employers are preparing for the coming retirement of boomers from their workforce in the great numbers that are predicted. As boomers retire, a great deal of experience and knowledge as well as familiarity with the company culture will be lost.

Most employers have not yet instituted programs to retain these boomers and even fewer employers have put programs in place to recruit retiring boomers with the needed experience and knowledge to fill their needs on a temporary basis. Keeping retiring employees on a temporary, part-time, flex-time or seasonal basis is a cost effective partial solution to up and coming workforce challenges.

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