retirement advice, retirementAfter decades in the workforce, many people aged 50 and over are eagerly awaiting retirement. Some employers, though, are doing as much as they can to retain their older employees, hoping to benefit from their years of expertise for as long as possible.

Why mature workers are desirable

According to AARP, older workers have many desirable qualities that make them ideal candidates for employment. Often, older employees:

  • Are committed to the quality of work they perform
  • Are loyal and dedicated to their places of employment
  • Deliver solid performance records
  • Can be counted on in times of crisis
  • Have solid experience in their industries

Top five best employers that value employees over 50

Recently, AARP released the 2013 winners of the AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50 award, cosponsored by the Society for Human Resource Management. Through the Best Employers program, the AARP “recognizes employers with exemplary practices for recruiting and retaining mature workers,” the organization said on its website.

The award-winning employers span across a wide variety of industries, though the top five (listed below) are all in the healthcare field.

5. Mercy Health System. Employees over 50 make up 37 percent of Mercy’s workforce, and the tenure of employees 50 and over averages 13.3 years.

Employees who are 55 and older can participate in “Senior Connection.” The program provides older employees with free Medicare and health care claims assistance, as well as discounted prescription drug coverage. Mercy also provides older employees with free retirement planning and health screenings, as well as the opportunity to work reduced, pool, or work-at-home schedules after five years of service.

4. The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Twenty nine percent of MD Anderson employees are over the age of 50, and these employees average 13 years with the company. Older full-time employees can benefit from 100 percent paid health and prescription premiums.

3. Atlantic Health System. Thirty-eight percent of Atlantic Health System’s employees are over the age of 50, and their average tenure is 15.9 years. Atlantic’s 1000 Hour Club allows retirees to go back to work three months after retirement on a part-time or per diem basis.

The company allows retirees to collect all of their retirement benefits and work a maximum of 999 hours each year. Older employees also receive free health screenings.

2. Scripps Health. Nearly 36 percent of Scripps Health’s workforce is over the age of 50, and employees aged 50 and over typically stay with the company for an average of 15 years.

Scripps was commended for its staged retirement plans, available to its employees aged 55 and older. The program includes full-time benefits for part-time employees, and it also offers hardship benefits, which include salary advances and paid time off.

1. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Over 47 percent of NIH’s workforce is over the age of 50, and the average tenure for an older employee is 18.4 years.

The company has pre-retirement classes and job listings that are only available to retired federal employees. It also holds annual job fairs for candidates over 50 in search of new jobs. All NIH retirees are notified of the job fair each year.

Just because you’re over 50 doesn’t mean you’ve lost your competitive edge. Keep in mind that many employers see the value of hiring an employee with loads of experience. To see AARP’s full list of the best employers for workers over 50, visit AARP.org.

Jeff Rose is a Certified Financial Planner and Iraqi combat veteran. He blogs at Good Financial CentsSoldier of Finance and Life Insurance By Jeff.