Jan 3, 2013 11:10 AM
Facing a chronic shortage of skilled workers, manufacturers are being forced to expand their skills search to include candidates they otherwise might not have considered. Like older and even retired workers.
Recently, the PBS Newshour covered the Vita Needle Co. in Needham, MA, which has successfully pursued a strategy of hiring older workers--many long past retirement age--to fill part-time skilled positions. The average age of the company's workforce is 74 years, and at least one worker at the family-owned maker of needle and tubing products for medical and other applications is over 100.
Vita Needle President Fred Hartman says older workers are reliable, tend to pay attention to detail and quality, and are loyal. Turnover is very low. And, because they are able to accept part-time work, Vita Needle gets a flexible workforce.
The older workers at Vita Needle, who earn between $10 abd $20 per hour, say the work keeps them active and engaged.
Has your company tried tapping into older workers to close the skills gap? If so, what have been the positives and negatives?