Jake Musil, left, helps Bob Borchardt with a computer issue
in the repair shop at Aries Industries. The two employees
can trade tips in their areas of expertise.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff
WAUKESHA - It’s well known that the days of having one career for
your entire life and then retiring are long over. Now, workers are
switching jobs more often, having more than one career and often
working a part-time job or starting a business after retirement.
With the workforce
also aging but technology always changing, emphasis is placed on
older and more experienced workers maintaining and upgrading their
According to the
Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 20 percent of workers in the
United States, about 33 million, are age 55 and up.
repairs a remote camera used for sewer inspection at Aries
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff
part of the ongoing evolving workplace series will look at what
older employees are doing to keep their jobs skills up-to-date,
as well as how retired workers are continuing to make an income
with a new job or by starting their own businesses.
Industries in Waukesha, the company leaders have implemented a
cross-training initiative to encourage older, more-experienced
workers to mentor younger, less-experienced ones and vice-versa.
Both sets of employees have valuable skills that they can share with
the other group, said Aries Industries President and CEO Nick Kroll.
are very adept with the technology available today and the older
employee hasn’t had the same exposure,” he said.
There are then
great opportunities for the young workers to help their more
experienced counterparts develop needed skills for the new
technology Aries Industries continues to install.
Bob Borchardt repairs a remote camera used for sewer
inspection Wednesday at Aries Industries.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff
Kroll said at each work station there are computers with video
monitors that are tied into the work stations so an employee can
pull up production needs. He said some of the older workers are
not very familiar with the system so their younger co-workers
help them become more so.
at Aries Industries is primarily occurring at the production level
and is often peer-to-peer, Kroll said. This also means more than one
person can perform a job, so if someone is on vacation production
doesn’t sit idle.
It is also a
concern if a more experienced worker can’t keep up with the new
technology due to feeling uncomfortable with it or lacking the right
skills, because this could affect production, Kroll said. He doesn’t
want that part of the workforce at Aries to become frustrated.
of our workplace is still incredibly valuable,” Kroll said. “We want
to make sure they are engaged and active in the workplace.”
Now more than
ever, keeping up job skills is vital for all age groups, said
Suzanne Kelley, executive director of the Waukesha County Business
“It is important
to stay current and to stay relevant even for an older worker,” she
said. “The motivation can be to stay in your current job or to start
There are many
resources in Waukesha County for workers to improve their jobs
skills, such as Waukesha County Technical College, the University of
Wisconsin-Waukesha and private and online learning institutions,
such as Herzing University, Kelley said.
There are also
groups, such as SCORE Southeast Wisconsin, which offers free
business consulting, business mentoring and business resources and
low-cost business trainings.
reverse mentorship such as Aries Industries offers is a great way
for workers to keep their job skills current by working with a
younger employee to learn new trends.
County Business Alliance members spent their careers working for a
company and then eventually became consultants and started their own
businesses, Kelley said.
business happens at many ages, said WCTC Small Business Center
Manager Russ Roberts.
Skills that many
older adults are lagging behind in are often the same ones Roberts
said entrepreneurs need to improve, such as technology and social
media knowledge. Small business owners, he said, don’t need to be
technology experts but must know how to use a computer as a tool.
business can offer the entrepreneur the flexibility she desires and
a needed income - or maybe she just wants to keep busy.
“They don’t want
to sit around in a rocking chair. They want to do something with the
skills they developed over the years,” Roberts said.
He has observed
many retirees starting consultant work and others who take a passion
for food and start a small online or farmers market business.
thing is starting a business later in life isn’t any different than
starting a business earlier in life,” Roberts said. “Everything is
teachable as long as someone is willing to learn.”
of working longer
For some choosing
to start a new job or a business after retirement is a necessity
because they didn’t save enough or their pension and Social Security
doesn’t cover all of their living expenses.
A Gallup poll in
April 2013 indicated three-fourths of employed adults planned to
keep working past retirement age. According to the poll, 19 percent
of people said they would choose to retire, 40 percent want to keep
working and another 35 percent believe they will need to keep
working for financial reasons.
Kelley said there
are people who continue to work full time or part time not because
they must, but from their love and passion for their work. And there
are other benefits to working more years.
“Just daily social
interaction would be one thing - satisfying your need to give back
to make a difference. Just really staying active and continuing to
build your network,” Kelley said, adding it can also be as basic as
keeping your mind sharp.
“I see lots of
benefits coming from staying in the workplace and there are
opportunities in the workplace,” she said.
Half of older workers who left their
career jobs by the time they were ages 65 to 69 moved to
a new employer.
More than eight out of 10 full-time
workers ages 51 to 55 in 1992 had left their 1992
employer by 2006 (when they were ages 65 to 69). Half of
workers who did so (and 43 percent of all older workers)
had a new employer by 2006.
Nearly two-thirds of workers who changed
jobs (and 27 percent of all older workers) switched
About three in 10 late-life career
changes are the result of layoffs or failing businesses.
One in four adults ages 51 to 55 who were working full
time lost their jobs because of layoffs or business
closings by 2006, even before the Great Recession began.
Source: AARP Public Policy Institute,
part-time jobs for retirees with decent pay
Librarian assistant/aide with a pay range
from about $8.86 to $23.33 per hour.
Bookkeeper with an annual pay range of
$21,610 to more than $54,310, depending on advanced
training and degrees and location.
Personal and home care aide, which pays
about $7.91 to $13.34 per hour.
Handyman, which pays $10 to $20 an hour,
and up to $50 for certain custom work.
Medical assistant with a median pay of
$14.12 per hour; upward depending on location and
Source: AARP, April 2014