“The organization that first succeeds in attracting and holding knowledge workers past traditional retirement age, and makes them fully productive will have a tremendous competitive advantage,” wrote famed business consultant Peter F. Drucker in his book (“Management Challenges for the 21st Century,” Harper Business, p. 48 (1999)). Employers are increasingly following this advice and seeking to tap the skills of retired professionals. At the same time, demographics, better health and personal financial concerns are increasing the ranks of highly skilled retired professionals eager to return to the workforce. How do companies find retired professionals such as chemists and technicians with the specialized skills they need? How can these retirees find positions that tap their skills?
More than 200 Internet websites specializing in retired professionals have sprung up to serve individual’s and employers’ needs. Different websites target different groups of retirees. For example, Alumni In Touch (spelled all one word) and SelectMinds target primarily former employees and retirees of large firms. Scientists and engineers are the primary focus of YourEncoreTM. RetiredBrains.com takes a broader focus listing retirees in 27 job categories including scientists and engineers.
Currently more than 30 large companies are YourEncoreTM clients. Retirees describe their experience and qualifications in a keyword-searchable database. Also, they check off categories of skills called “service offerings,” which they can provide to employers. While non-member companies are able to search the YourEncore retiree database, they pay higher fees than member companies.
Retirees work as YourEncore employees – usually either in the client company’s facility or in a home office. Retired professionals who have relocated sometimes work in home offices with a supervisor located hundreds or thousands of miles away and may travel occasionally for meetings.
Founder Art Koff calls RetiredBrains.com “a job board for seniors.” Retirees create free accounts classifying themselves by profession. He says that more than 30,000 retirees are registered. Employers pay to post job openings using the same classifications and to search the retiree database to identify employment candidates. The employer also is informed when a newly posted résumé contains the appropriate keywords matching the job posting.
Companies have begun encouraging their employees and retirees to register on their own retiree websites and provide contact information plus summaries of their work experience, accomplishments and skills. This enables their former employer to identify suitable candidates for both short-term and permanent positions. For example, more than 200 former Shell employees in North America, Europe and elsewhere registered the first day Shell’s AlumniInTouch website went online.
Chemical employers that have established AlumniInTouch databases include chemical, drug, and energy firms. If they can’t find a suitable candidate among their own retirees, companies can then search among the retiree listings for other employers. Retirees register on AlumniInTouch in their former employer’s websites. Retirees who have worked for more than one company can register on more than one AlumniInTouch website.
Don’t forget, retired ACS members can post their résumés on the ACS job site ChemistryJobs (http://chemistryjobs.acs.org/apply/advertise.cfm).
URL Addresses of Retiree Employment Websites (all free to retirees)
- RetiredBrains www.retiredbrains.com
- AlumniInTouch www.alumniintouch.com
- Your Encore www.yourencore.com
- SelectMinds www.selectminds.com
- Seniors4Hire www.seniors4hire.org
- JobsForRetirees www.jobsforretirees.com
- Senior Job Bank www.seniorjobbank.org
- Gray Hair Management www.grayhairmanagement.com
- Experience Works www.experienceworks.org
- Retired Worker www.theretiredworker.com
California Employment Development Department – Senior Workers www.edd.ca.gov/eddswtx.com
Full-time science writer John Borchardt is an ACS Career Consultant and certified Workshop Presenter. As an industrial chemist he holds 30 U.S. patents and written more than 130 peer-reviewed technical articles.