50 best companies for employees over 50

Anne Fisher,
FORTUNE senior writer

This year, the AARP's list gives special preference to companies that offer flexible hours. Plus, job sites for people who want to keep working through 'retirement.'

The AARP's latest list of the top places to work for people over 50 includes some household names, like Volkswagen of America (#6), drug maker Hoffmann-LaRoche (#10), L.L. Bean (#43), and John Deere (Charts) (#50).

As in previous years, however, by far the largest group of companies on the list are privately owned health-care providers, like No. 1-ranked Mercy Health System, headquartered in Janesville, Wis.

What they all have in common: They offer flexible work hours to an increasing number of their employees.

Volkswagen, based in Auburn Hills, Mich., is typical. The company makes flextime, compressed work schedules, job sharing, and telecommuting available to both full- and part-time workers, as well as letting some of its employees ease into retirement gradually by working part time first. After they do step aside, many of Volkswagen's retirees are offered consulting projects, temporary assignments, and part-time jobs.

Nonprofits like winner Mercy Health System, which runs 63 health-care facilities in Wisconsin and Illinois, offer other flexible-scheduling opportunities, like weekend-only work and on-call assignments involving a limited number of hours per month.

A recent study by the AARP and human-resources consultants Towers Perrin says that employees age 50 and over will account for 20% of the workforce by the year 2012, up from 13% now.

As a result, says smart employers are trying to create a "mutually beneficial work environment" for older workers, says AARP chief executive Bill Novelli. "Flexible arrangements can be a big part of that."

The full list of this year's honorees are below.

Web sites for older workers

Unfortunately, most of the employers on this year's list are limited to relatively small geographic areas. What if you're an over-50 job seeker who doesn't happen to live near any of them? Not a minute too soon, nationwide job sites for the older and wiser are beginning to appear on the Web.

Consider, for instance, RetirementJobs.com. Launched in May, the site acts as a matchmaker between the 50-plus crowd and employers who want to hire them for part-time, full-time, and temp jobs. Its services are free to job hunters, and so far some big names - H&R Block, Home Depot, Bank of America, and the American Red Cross among them - have signed on.

RetirementJobs.com also offers other resources, like resume-writing help, and features intriguing profiles of people who have found their dream jobs after retiring from their original careers.

Monster.com, meanwhile, has built an online job-search center called Careers at 50+ (careersat50.monster.com). A joint venture with AARP, the site features special advice for career changers, and interview and resume tips tailored to job seekers who have decades of experience. Check them out! Top of page

Best Companies for Employees Over 50
Rank Company City State
1 Mercy Health System Janesville WI
2 Lee Memorial Health System Fort Myers FL
3 Bon Secours Richmond Health System Richmond VA
4 Leesburg Regional Medical Center and The Villages Regional Hospital Leesburg FL
5 Yale-New Haven Hospital New Haven CT
6 Volkswagen of America, Inc. Auburn Hills MI
7 Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge MA
8 Oakwood Healthcare System, Inc. Dearborn MI
9 First Horizon National Corporation (FHN) Memphis TN
10 Hoffmann-La Roche Inc. (Roche) Nutley NJ
11 Centegra Health System Woodstock IL
12 Stanley Consultants Muscatine IA
13 Scripps Health San Diego CA
14 Brevard Public Schools Viera FL
15 Beaumont Hospitals Southfield MI
16 Principal Financial Group (PFG) Des Moines IA
17 The Aerospace Corporation El Segundo CA
18 Inova Health System Falls Church VA
19 The YMCA of Greater Rochester Rochester NY
20 Saint Barnabas Health Care Organization West Orange NJ
21 SC Johnson Racine WI
22 Atlantic Health System Florham Park NJ
23 St. Mary's Medical Center Huntington WV
24 Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond VA
25 Carondelet Health Network Tucson AZ
26 SSM Health Care St. Louis MO
27 Busch Entertainment Corporation Clayton MO
28 Bon Secours St. Francis Health System Greenville SC
29 Pinnacle Health System Harrisburg PA
30 University of Kentucky Lexington KY
31 St. Mary's Medical Center Evansville IN
32 Cornell University Ithaca NY
33 Yuma Regional Medical Center Yuma AZ
34 MidMichigan Health Midland MI
35 West Virginia University Hospitals Morgantown WV
36 Pinnacol Assurance Denver CO
37 ACUITY Sheboygan WI
38 Hospice of Marion County & Affiliated Companies Ocala FL
39 Massachusetts General Hospital Boston MA
40 Florida Hospital Waterman Tavares FL
41 University of Colorado Hospital Denver CO
42 Scottsdale Healthcare Scottsdale AZ
43 L.L.Bean, Inc. Freeport ME
44 Mitretek Systems, Inc. Falls Church VA
45 Ochsner Clinic Foundation New Orleans LA
46 UNM Hospitals Albuquerque NM
47 Cabell Huntington Hospital Huntington WV
48 University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center Houston TX
49 Adecco (ADO) Melville NY
50 John Deere (DE) Moline

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