Encore Workers: Boom or Bust for Non-Profits?

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.

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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.

Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.


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