Best Employers for workers over 50

As most readers may (or should know) in America the standard agreement between employers and employees is that we're hired at will.   The legal phrasing is below:

Any hiring is presumed to be "at will"; that is, the employer is free to discharge individuals "for good cause, or bad cause, or no cause at all," and the employee is equally free to quit, strike, or otherwise cease work.[wiki footnote]

The "at-will" rule has its genesis in a rule in Horace Gray Wood’s 1877 treatise on master-servant relations. Wood cited four U.S. cases as authority for his rule that when a hiring was indefinite, the burden of proof was on the servant to prove that an indefinite employment term was for one year.  Please see wikipedia.org for additional information.

Well, if you've ever felt like you were a servant (or slave) to your company, the above surely will make you feel worse.  On the positive side, such employment law does allow companies to treat employees as variable rather than fixed costs.  So, they can easily restructure (lay off) operations when times are tough.

With the above in mind, older employees should try to work at companies more conducive to ethical work practices.  The list below of Best Employers for Workers over 50 is sourced from AARP.org, September 2011.

So, why are we highlighting this list in a Socially Responsible website.  Well, it stands to reason that companies who treat employees well also treat other stakeholders well.  These "emotionally intelligent companies" often are more open minded - seeking outside opinions before making drastic decisions.


AARP's Methodology:
Prospective employers essentially submit a detailed application to AARP that include questions for screening companies.  AARP considers HR policies/practices such as worker training, recruiting, and health & pension benefits.  Applications are evaluated by an independent survey firm, and later to a panel of judges.  We were pleasantly surprised that AARP disclosed background information on the judges link.


Disadvantages:
AARP's methodology is similar to National Association of Female Executive's (NAFE).  As such, we note some negatives:
  • Prospective employers are pushed to AARP via a self initiated application process, and not pulled in by an active approach
  • Prospects (and thereby chosen companies) are in similar industry fields (i.e, healthcare)
  • Prospects' human resources policies/practices are not required to be dedicated solely towards older employees.  Note that this is not the case in terms of working mothers policies/practices, which have become more developed over the years.


Interesting Findings about the list:
  • Despite the great strides made by socially responsible stalwarts, the truth is, socially responsible companies were overwhelmingly privately-owned on this list.  Blue Chip public companies were nearly non-existent.
  • Most were healthcare companies.  Privately-owned healthcare companies were the highest proportion we have ever seen.  Well, leave it to a healthcare company to recognize how important this benefit is to older employees.  
  • However, reviewing previous lists going back to 2002 reveals that the trend of private and/or healthcare cos has grown steadily.  Just when the first "baby boomers" are reaching 65, it appears that conventional publicly-owned companies such as Deere & Co. are no longer appearing on the list.
  • Universities also were well represented in the list 

    AARP also created a "short-list" for older workers, the International version, which did include some well known corporations such as BMW, Centrica, Daikin, DSW21, Marks & Spencer and National Australia Bank.



    Best Employers for Workers Over 50
    2011 Winners (U.S. list).

      1. Scripps Health

      2. Cornell University

      3. National Institutes of Health
      4. First Horizon National Corporation

      5. West Virginia University
      6. The YMCA of Greater Rochester

      7. Atlantic Health System
      8. Mercy Health System
      9. Bon Secours Richmond Health System
    10. The Aerospace Corporation
    11. WellStar Health System
    12. MidMichigan Health
    13. City of Glendale, Arizona
    14. Massachusetts General Hospital
    15. Pinnacol Assurance
    16. Stanley Consultants

    17. Central Florida Health Alliance

    18. National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

    19. The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
    20. Brevard Public Schools

    21. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    22. Pinnacle Health
    23. TriHealth, Inc.
    24. Cianbro Corporation
    25. Securian Financial Group, Inc.

    26. Lee County Electric Cooperative
    27. Manheim

    28. Monongalia General Hospital
    29. George Mason University
    30. Nevada Federal Credit Union

    31. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina

    32. Michelin North America

    33. Saint Vincent Health System
    34. University of Massachusetts Medical School
    35. University of Southern California
    36. Cabell Huntington Hospital
    37. Virginia Commonwealth University

    38. Ochsner Health System
    39. FCCI Insurance Group
    40. Saint Barnabas Health Care System
    41. ACUITY, a Mutual Insurance Company

    42. S&T Bank

    43. University of Pittsburgh

    44. West Virginia University Hospitals
    45. Eastern National
    46. Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center
    47. DentaQuest
    48. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey
    49. San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind

    50. Kaiser Permanente

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