Small Business Minute: Hiring older workers

By Brian Leaf

Some of the nation’s most successful companies are hiring older workers. Should you?

Home Depot and AARP are teaming up to hire people over 50 to work for the retailer. What does Home Depot know that small businesses can benefit from? Plenty.

Since they were tots, companies have been chasing Baby Boomers. They’re the largest demographic group in the U.S. Now, as they hit the retirement years, they’re becoming an important segment of the labor pool.

Five years ago there was a labor shortage. As the economy improves, there will again be shortages – particularly in lower-paying retail and service jobs. Home Depot sees retirees as an untapped labor market. They’re smart, experienced employees who want to work.

Older Americans are more active than ever. As they draw retirement benefits, many are still interested in a paycheck. Since they’re only looking to supplement income many will work for less.

Older Americans have skill sets that may fit your business. They’ve spent a lifetime working and have specialties and skills that are a strategic fit. They can help your small company grow. Many retirees don’t need training and can step right into a job with minimal expense.

As Home Depot CEO Bob Nardelli says, “We believe knowledge, experience and passion never retire.”

–Leaf is a contributor who writes frequently about small business issues. Contact him at