Encore Workers: Boom or Bust for Non-Profits?

Oct 22, 2008

Did you know that the non-profit sector is growing faster than business or government?

This industry faces its own talent shortage, but a new study suggests that boomers may help to fill the void and serve in key senior management positions over the next decade. The MetLife Foundation/Civic Ventures survey, entitled “Tapping Encore Talent,” says there are at least 1.4 million nonprofits in the United States, accounting for 10% of U.S. employment.

The survey polled 427 nonprofit employers in the fields of social services, healthcare/health services, education/youth development (not including schools), the environment, community agencies, crisis intervention agencies, and other causes. It found, among other things, that:

  • Nonprofits with experience employing late-career or retired workers are more likely than other employers to view these workers as very appealing – by a margin of 53% to 40%. They are also more positive about workers who have switched from business to nonprofits (40% to 29%).
  • Nearly 70% rate the valuable experience encore workers bring to the job as a significant benefit, and 67% say the same about encore workers’ commitment and reliability.
  • About 25% expressed “serious concerns” that encore workers could demand higher salaries; 23% worry boomers are reluctant to learn new technology; and 20% fear they lack technical/professional skills.
  • What about flex time? About 90% of nonprofits say they offer part-time work; 86% offer flexible schedules to all or some employees; but just 40% allow employees to work remotely.
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