HR Strange But True!
June 16, 2003

We all know that HR is never dull. But sometimes it can get downright strange...

The workplace: Playground of single seniors?

John A. Challenger, chief executive of the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., has issued a news release in which he predicts the following: "A convergence of trends, including longer life spans and significant losses in retirement savings, could mean that the most popular meeting place for single seniors will be at the workplace."

Challenger says that while all seniors will have greater incentives to stay in the workforce, it will be particularly true of single seniors. "They lack the income that a working spouse contributes, yet still have to contend with rising costs, such as health care. Those who are single because of divorce or the death of a spouse may be in a particularly tough financial situation due to legal and/or hospital expenses," he says.

"Whatever the reason for staying on the job," he adds, "the growing number of singles in the workplace may find that the workplace is the most ideal environment in which to meet new people, since singles bars, health clubs and other such venues traditionally cater to younger people. The social contact that the workplace offers may become the leading factor behind many older workers' decision to forego retirement."

In fact, Challenger adds, the opportunity to meet new people may become a selling point among employers who, within the next 10 years, are expected to face a serious labor shortage. Companies may even want to promote the idea of being a senior-friendly environment, by holding social functions exclusively for workers over 50.

"Human resource departments may cringe at the idea of doing anything that could prompt romantic relationships, but such measures may be necessary in a time of labor shortages," he says. "Besides, the workplace in general has become more relaxed about intra-office dating, realizing that with workers logging so many hours, opportunities to meet people outside of work are dwindling."

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
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