Competitive pay and a respectful boss top older workers' wish lists
- Competitive wages and a respectful boss are top job requirements for workers age 45 and older, respondents said in an AARP study on work. The study, The Value of Experience: AARP Multicultural Work and Jobs Study, also reviewed on employment among older African-American, Latino and LGBTQ members of the workforce.
- Most said they work because they need the money, and when it comes to choosing a new job, competitive pay remains the top priority. A chance to use the their skills and talents was next, followed by an easy commute.
- Topping the list of respondents' most desired workplace cultural characteristics was a respectful boss. A friendly work environment and respectful coworkers followed.
As workplaces become more multigenerational and aim to more inclusive, employers are working to understand the varying needs and concerns of their employees. Much time has been spent trying to attract and retain millennials, but employers are finding that it pays to implement initiatives aimed at older workers, too.
As some have been faced with mass retirements, they've found that they're losing the skills and knowledge of older workers, experiencing a "brain drain." To combat this, employers are tailoring certain benefits to older workers' needs, including phased retirement programs and caregiving leave.
AARP's study also reveals that culture must work for everyone, and for older workers, respect is paramount. Luckily for employers, a "culture of respect" can have many desirable benefits, experts say, including combating harassment and supporting employers' diversity and inclusion efforts.
Showing employees respect also motivates them, Steve Van Valin, founder and CEO of Culturology, previously told HR Dive. Ensuring employees at all levels understand the bigger picture of their contributions helps increase engagement, he said. For managers, this means engaging people in daily conversations, asking them about their priorities for the day, and helping them tie those daily priorities to the big picture. "Purpose can be so gigantic, you never get there," Van Valin said; "Really smart leaders bring purpose down to daily discipline."