Even though Los Angeles’ unemployment rate continues to hug the double digits, a growing number of industries are embracing seniors and baby boomers to fill available job openings. Experts say industries now seeking those with life experience include health care, counseling and nonprofit management. According to the California Employment Development Department, employers are actively recruiting seasoned workers, in part, due to their allegiance to the workplace.

(Photo Courtesy of Steve Poizner)

(Photo Courtesy of Steve Poizner)

“By hiring mature workers, employers benefit by gaining employees who are trained, skilled, knowledgeable, dedicated and loyal,” said Steve Poizner, CEO at Empowered UCLA Extension, an online career-training program that offers academic certificates. “They are also motivated to mentor younger employees, which lowers training costs and creates greater productivity.”

Poizner, who earned his master’s degree in business administration from Stanford University, said mature workers are vital assets in areas of finance.

“As the largest generation in U.S. history approaches retirement, the need for skilled financial advisors is on the rise with employment growth in the financial planning field projected to be as high as 30 percent through 2018,” Poizner said.

What is the greatest stumbling block older workers face?

“Seniors often have to take a cut in pay as they change industries or roles or they are perceived as overqualified for positions. Mature workers who aren’t concerned so much about producing a lot of income are often willing to take an entry-level position.”

How do you help seasoned workers overcome employment challenges?

“We work with mature students who need continuing income to meet their retirement goals by helping them to understand and convey to potential employers what their transferable skills are. Our career coaches help our students create competitive functional resumes that highlight their skills and teach them how to interview by accentuating their accomplishments and character traits.”

What is the usefulness of re-educating a seasoned workforce? 

“In such a dynamic economy, retooling or obtaining new and current skills expands their expertise and proves they are up-to-date in their field. It’s extremely important for our workforce to keep individuals abreast of technological and industry advances, ensure cross-generational collaboration and to merge previously learned experience with new ideas.”

Many in their fifth or sixth decade of life are now changing careers. Why?

“For many people, retirement is an opportunity to end a lackluster job and do something they really want to do. It is a chance to have an encore career that they are passionate about.”

What is your outlook for the older workforce by the year 2020?

“I fully expect baby boomers to now re-invent how we view retirement. Baby boomers will be working into retirement, but many will be switching to second careers with a more personal purpose that they truly enjoy.”

Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to Examiner.com.


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