Seniors Fuel Increase in Career-Site Visitors. The Bigger Picture.

A few days ago Marketing Charts posted an interesting article on how visitors to US career-development websites increased 20% year-over-year to 49.7 million in January 2009.

This was fueled by a surge in visitors ages 65+ who are apparently still in the job market, according to data from Nielsen Online. In fact, the number of unique visitors age 65 and older to career development websites grew 41% year-over-year, increasing from 2.5 million in January 2008 to 3.6 million in January 2009.

Chuck Schilling, research director with Nielsen Online had this to say about the data:
“While 65 used to be considered the age when most people retired, we are seeing a trend toward later retirement or partial retirement,” Schilling said. “Much of this desire to stay employed longer can probably be attributed to the fact that people are living longer and feel the need to keep generating income and sock away more retirement savings, especially in light of the current economic climate and its effect on people’s nest eggs.”
At Fisher Vista, LLC we operate what I initially believed to be two totally different businesses: (1) and (2) Yet, as I speak with senior care and HR vendors I am realizing these two services are quite complementary. Who would have thunk?

And this is giving us a unique perspective on the aging population's impact on employers. In particular, how every company (yes, yours too) will have to:

(1) Rethink recruitment and retention, employee benefits design, and general staffing decisions to attract and retain an older workforce. This means everything from how you source candidates, their job descriptions, the benefits you offer them, their work schedules (e.g., job sharing), how to train, motivate and manage them, etc.

(2) Rethink how your products or services are relevant to an aging population. Whether you realize it or not, your target market is expanding to include "Boomers" and "Seniors" and smart companies are finding ways to either (a) tweak their existing offerings to have more relevance to this market and/or developing new product lines specifically designed for the aging population (e.g., Phillips Electronics Lifeline products and Jitterbug's easy to use senior cell phones).

While #1 (recruitment and retention) gets all the attention these days, #2 (product development/ marketing) is equally if not more important in the long term.

Our economy is going through unprecedented changes as are the demographics of the world - and every company must think about how they will maintain relevance in the next economy. To get you thinking, check out Ed Wallace's brilliant article When the Boomers Stop Buying.

I'm already seeing some senior care vendors enter the HR space by introducing their products/services to employers - usually as some form of employee benefit to help employees dealing with elder care issues. And more HR executives are noticing the impact elder care has on employees (think presenteeism) and beginning to do something about it.

But there are also opportunities for HR vendors (e.g., EAPs and work-life companies) to enter the B2C space or pursue other distribution channels for their services. Lot's of opportunities.

Which ones have relevance is yet to be seen but one thing I know for sure - the HR vendor landscape will look a lot different ten years from now.

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