Update: Deadtree Edition updated his article after reading my post and reading a USPS report (a retired postal manager helped lead him to the report) on active postal employees that has been published for years. But my point still remains the same. The age of the USPS workforce has no bearing on its financial woes. As one reader pointed out:
The companies may not have a high rate of older employees due to salaries or benefits. Older people need job security and higher wages to take care of their families. The study absent salaries, benefits and throw in geographic location is practically useless in comparing to any company, govt or private.
Like I have mentioned on the frontpage of PostalReporter.com. Deadtree Edition normally writes insightful articles about issues facing the USPS. However, I believe this article is does not truly reflect the purpose of the Retirementjobs study nor does it accurately compare the average age of Postal Workers to employees of Fortune 500 companies.
Oh, by the way, the HAT report says the average age of postal employees is 49 yrs. old. This includes temporary and non-career employees. The average years of USPS service is 16 years which is certainly not enough years to equal the 30-year requirement for retirement of most employees. Now, let me leave this issue alone before I get more “gray hairs”
Deadtree Edition recently wrote an article with the title, “USPS Workforce Has More Gray Hairs Than the Fortune 500. The article is an analysis of a study by RetirementJobs.com and a news article from US News and World Report. The purpose of the RetirementJobs.com study is to highlight:
It is helpful to age 50+ job seekers and existing employees to understand which companies and industries tend to employ a disproportionately high or low percentage of mature workers,” said RetirementJobs.com Founder and CEO Tim Driver.
Just because a company employs a large number of older workers doesn’t necessarily mean it’s hiring older workers. In many cases, companies have long-tenured employees who have aged on the job, says Bill Coleman, vice president of research and certification at RetirementJobs.com and author of the report. But the study “does give a sense of where older workers are and where many of them would be most comfortable,” he says.
But Deadtree Edition has taken the study a little bit further and compared it to USPS Workforce.
Deadtree Edition says:
The U.S. Postal Service apparently has a larger share of employees who are over 50 than any Fortune 500 company, a new study indicates.American Airlines leads the big companies, with a workforce that is 39.1% over 50, estimates the RetirementJobs.com study, based on public records.The number of postal workers over 50 does not seem to be publicly available, but the data that are available suggests USPS has the private sector beat in the older-worker category.
First of all, it is absolutely erroneous to compare Fortune 500 companies to the U.S. Postal Service. As the US News and World Report pointed out:
Companies without many older workers aren’t necessarily making a deliberate effort not to hire them, says Coleman. “The reason those companies rate low on the list is because of the nature of what they do or the nature of their organizations,” he says. “Places like Goldman Sachs have large numbers of young employees because they bring in large pools of people just out of college or just out of business school.” Logistics company C.H. Robinson.
In a recent USPS report it states that there are approximately 351,409 postal employees over the age of 50. But the report is not broken down as to how many are CAREER employees within USPS. Nonetheless, it doesn’t matter how many employees are over th age of 50. Why? because it does not mean over 50 employees will be eligible for retirement in less than 10 years as the point Deadtree Edition is alluding to in his article on USPS.
RetirementJobs.com also pointed out :
Internal research within leading retail companies now ties the prevalence of older employees directly to higher revenues, due to higher satisfaction rates when a customer (of any age) interacts with an older associate. Finally, companies addressing high turnover rates strategically recruit and emphasize retention of mature employees since these age 50+ employees turn over at one third the rate of their younger (under age 50) peers.
USPS, unlike its competitors has a very low turnover percentage. However, reduced and/or lower wages, reduced workhours and benefits will more than likely drive that percentage to an all-time high.. Can USPS operate efficiently and effectively with a revolving and younger workforce? Only time will tell in the upcoming years as “older” workers retire. But for now, writing articles or trying to force out retirement eligible postal employees is not the answer to curing USPS financial woes. Deadtree Edition should be careful when writing about employees over 50. One would tend to think he is bias against ‘over 50’ employees in the workforce which includes our nation’s military veterans. Or better yet should Morris Wilkinson retire because he is eligible for retirement and over 50? 91-year-old postman Morris Wilkinson stamps 70 years of service I don’t think so.
USPS has reduced its workforce by at least 100,000 employees over the last few years and it is still in financial trouble. But yet pundits and some lawmakers are forever pushing for USPS to cut its workforce even more. USPS is in the business to serve the American people and not to the whims of anti-union forces or lawmakers seeking to score political points with the competitors, businesses and the mailing industry. This is one factor that seems to get lost in discussions about the future and stability of the U.S. Postal Service.