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Career Watch: A new perspective on older workers

Jamie Eckle | March 21, 2011
The managing director of the Dallas office of executive search firm Stanton Chase International discusses changes in prospects for older workers.

An example from my practice is a start-up business that is looking for a vice president of sales and is seriously looking at an experienced candidate whose age is around 60 and who has industry contacts, knows the distribution channels and can build a high-performing team quickly. The client's interest in the more experienced candidate is to get revenue, new customers and a team quickly.

 

More Older Americans Are Working

The percentage of Americans age 55 or older who are in the labor force has been on the rise since 1993 and in 2010 exceeded the percentage recorded in 1975. For older workers who haven't reached retirement age, the higher rate of labor participation can be attributed to an increase the number of women in the workforce. But the percentages of both men and women in the workforce who are 65 or older has grown. Education level has a strong correlation with a higher labor-participation rate.

Where the Jobs Are: Healthcare

51,000

Number of additional healthcare IT workers that will be needed in the U.S. over the next five years, according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

As hospitals gear up for full implementation of electronic health record systems, they are facing a significant shortage of qualified IT personnel. Accenture conducted a study on EHR implementation and concluded that the push for electronic records will require one full-time healthcare IT worker for every five hospital beds. That translates into a need for roughly 155,000 full-time healthcare IT workers in the U.S., which is some 45,000 more than the current number of IT professionals in healthcare, according to a Gartner estimate.

 

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