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Nonprofits see benefit in ‘encore’ workers

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Many Baby Boomers, looking to make both a difference in the community and some extra income after retirement, are showing interest in “encore” careers in the nonprofit sector.

And nonprofits may be equally interested in their services, says a study by the MetLife Foundation and Civic Ventures.

Half of U.S. nonprofit employers said they saw encore workers as highly appealing, and nearly four in 10 said they were moderately appealing.

Almost seven in 10 said they saw Boomers’ experience, commitment and reliability as a significant potential asset in the workplace, says the study, “Tapping Encore Talent: A MetLife Foundation/Civic Ventures Survey of Nonprofit Employers.”

“The fact that pioneering nonprofits are already enthusiastic proponents of encore workers is encouraging,” Sibyl Jacobson, president and CEO of the MetLife Foundation, says in a statement.

“They see encore talent improving organizational effectiveness, adding capacity, providing opportunities for learning across generations, and creating the kind of flexible roles that make nonprofits attractive to workers of all ages,” she says.

Also, more than four in 10 nonprofits said the sector is facing a talent shortage, and U.S. nonprofits will need 640,000 new senior managers by 2016, says a 2006 report by the Bridgespan Group.

However, a quarter of nonprofit employers expressed serious concerns that encore workers might demand higher pay, and nearly as many worried that older employees might have trouble mastering new technology.

Between 5.3 million and 8.4 million Boomers already have embarked on encore careers, says another study by the MetLife Foundation and Civic Ventures. Half of workers age 44 to 70 who do not already have encore careers expressed interest in them.

The MetLife Foundation funds programs that promote healthy aging and address issues of care giving, mental wellness and volunteerism.

Civic Ventures, a San Francisco-based think tank, aims to harness Baby Boomers’ talents and experience as a force for social change in the workplace.

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