'Active Workforce' is the Answer for Restaurant Industry’s Hot Job Growth, Say Experts

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Expert provides tips for hiring Baby Boom workers and for capitalizing on this expert applicant pool.

A younger manager can easily become intimidated by a more experienced employee . . . he or she may either believe the one extreme, that the person is too old and can’t do the job, or may be intimidated by the person’s age and expertise, and can’t relate.

While the restaurant industry has escaped the wave of American jobs moving overseas, a maturing worker population combined with demographic changes and blistering growth have set the stage for a dramatic shortage of employees. The answer? America’s Baby Boomer population, which is eschewing traditional retirement to stay engaged in the working world.

Like their counterparts in the “Y Generation,” the Baby Boomers are making their own rules, and employers need to change their traditional thinking in order to reap the rewards of a golden age hiring opportunity. That’s the bottom line from Mel Kleiman, President of Humetrics, Inc., a research division of Deploy Solutions, a leading workforce management solutions provider.

“With people living longer, the Baby Boomer population is redefining age 65,” Kleiman explains. “It’s now considered older middle age . . . people are more fit today, and they’re refusing to slow down. Boomers want to stay more active and engaged.”

That motivation will likely be fed by the thriving restaurant industry. Employment growth in both the full-service and limited service restaurant sectors have caused them to become two of the top 10 largest growing industries in the country, according to projections by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS figures were recently cited in a “Workforce 2006” brief from People Report™, a provider of HR metrics, benchmarks, and trends for the food service industry. Nearly 1.3 million jobs are expected to be created by the year 2014, the BLS projections say; accounting for persons who will permanently leave food service work during that time, about 6 million workers will be needed.

Enter the “active workforce,” a term coined by Kleiman. The BLS projects that workers age 16 to 24 will decrease slightly over the next decade, as many of these younger workers are delaying the time when they enter the workforce. However, workers age 65 and older are projected to increase by nearly 75 percent. The active workforce can offer traits like stability and maturity, Kleiman notes, aspects that are sure to benefit the restaurant world, and other industries.

Yet, the active workforce will also likely have a different set of priorities and work routines, he cautions. Employers not only have to change their hiring approach to appeal to this large demographic, but also need to adopt new approaches to recruiting and interviewing, and offer flexible schedules. “Equally important,” adds Kleiman, “is that employers re-train a range of staff to avoid common pitfalls caused by a lack in diversity.”

“The chief problem can be that of intimidation,” he explains. “A younger manager can easily become intimidated by a more experienced employee . . . he or she may either believe the one extreme, that the person is too old and can’t do the job, or may be intimidated by the person’s age and expertise, and can’t relate.”

Deploy Solutions recommends the following tips for hiring and managing the active workforce, along with a few areas to avoid:

  • Build a recruiting message that will attract and appeal to the Baby Boomers.
  • Create an interviewing process geared to someone with a great deal of work experience.
  • Flexible work schedules are paramount. Baby Boomers may not seek full retirement, but their priorities now revolve around their personal lives -- their families, in many cases, and schedules need to fit those lifestyles.
  • Consider job-sharing as a means for enabling flexible work schedules.
  • Include age diversity in your corporate diversity strategy – now.
  • Don’t give in to age-driven stereotypes. Continue to train managers and employees to ensure they don’t discriminate and specifically make managers aware of how to treat someone who’s older.
  • Understand their physical needs. Be aware of limitations when making work assignments.
  • Encourage managers to solicit active workforce employee’s ideas, and utilize their decades of work experience.

About Deploy Solutions

Deploy Solutions, Inc. provides companies with a competitive advantage in the marketplace by optimizing performance in recruiting, hiring, and retaining top employees. The Deploy Enterprise Talent Suite™ is a proven solution that improves the quality and performance of the workforce, reduces the cost of talent acquisition, and supports regulatory compliance. The company draws upon flexible technology, deep domain experience, and a comprehensive approach to HR metrics and analytics to drive measurable results for its customers. Deploy provides talent management solutions to a diverse and prestigious list of customers, including: Securitas, Hess, Sheetz, Flying J, The Pantry, Wakefern (ShopRite Stores), Tire Kingdom, Century Theaters, FedEx, Bristol-Myers Squibb, American Electric Power, and many more. For additional information, call 877-GO-DEPLOY (877-463-3756) or visit http://www.deploy.com.

Visit our Knowledge Center to download white papers and other research on Talent Management and Talent Optimization from leading authors.

About Humetrics

For over 25 years, Humetrics has been working with companies to improve their hourly employee recruitment and selection practices. Led by Founder Mel Kleiman, Humetrics provides best-practice research, tools and resources to companies looking to optimize their recruiting and hiring practices. Humetrics has published several widely-read books including Hire Tough, Manage Easy; 267 Hire Tough Interview Questions; 180 Ways to Build a Magnetic Culture; and Recruit Smarter, Not Harder. To learn more, visit Humetrics online at http://www.humetrics.com or call 877-463-3756.

This press release was distributed through eMediawire by Human Resources Marketer (HR Marketer: http://www.HRmarketer.com) on behalf of the company listed above.

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