AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50 Award–International

Recognizing Employers for their Commitment to an Age-Diverse Workforce

Location: worldwide
Date/Time: September 1, 2011

Thank you for your interest in the AARP Best Employers for Workers over 50 Award - International. Please note that AARP will not administer this program in 2012. For further information, please contact

AARP Announces 2011 Best Employers for Workers Over 50

In recognition of growing international attention to the implications of an aging workforce, AARP recently announced the 15 winners of the 2011 AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50 Award - International.  The award, designed to promote innovative human resource and workforce practices around the world, recognized winners from Australia, Austria, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Singapore and the United Kingdom.

"Our winners have demonstrated outstanding vision and commitment in building a forward-looking workplace" said AARP Senior Vice President Edward Newburn. "Creating and sustaining positive workplace policies for workers over 50 will ultimately help them keep a competitive edge in tomorrow's marketplace."

AARP selected the following 15 companies and organizations for having the most positive workplace policies for their older workers:

BMW Group
Winning Years: 2009, 2011
Industry: Automotive
Location: Munich, Germany
Employees: 69,518; Percentage over 50: 23.1%

With "Today for Tomorrow," BMW Group has created a holistic and cross-cutting approach to addressing demographic change at the workplace. This program comprises innovative initiatives in the areas of health promotion, training and knowledge management, work environment, and personalized retirement models. When staffing a new production plant a few years ago, BMW specifically targeted unemployed older job seekers to ensure a well-balanced age structure to support the regional labor market. Moreover, BMW recently opened a new assembly hall specifically designed to support healthy aging of its workforce. 

Bundesagentur für Arbeit
Winning Year: 2010, 2011
Industry: Government
Location: Nürnberg, Germany
Employees: 95,900; Percentage over 50: 35.2%

Employees at Germany's federal employment agency, Bundesagentur für Arbeit (BA), benefit from a wide variety of flexible work arrangements and long-term working time accounts that provide opportunities for extended leaves of absence. These options are especially beneficial to older workers caring for family members or transitioning into retirement. BA also regularly re-employs retired staff members with specific skill sets for special projects. More recently, BA launched a "family service," which offers caregiving consulting as well as emergency day care services.

Centrica plc
Winning Years: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
Industry: Energy
Location: Windsor, United Kingdom
Employees: 27,564; Percentage over 50: 14.8%

An integrated energy company, Centrica promotes an age-diverse workforce; among other ways through its work:wise flexible working and carer's program, which allows employees to individually optimize their work-life balance. The majority of the company's workforce currently takes advantage of flexible work arrangements. Centrica's Age Awareness e-course, which educates employees about age diversity, is another innovative feature designed to make the workplace more age-friendly.

Daikin Industries
Winning Years: 2011
Industry: Industrial Equipment & Commercial Machinery
Location: Osaka, Japan
Employees: 8,149; Percentage over 50: 24.2%  

A leading manufacturer of air conditioning systems, Daikin Industries strongly promotes opportunities for individual capacity building and personal development from the time of employment to retirement. The company moreover offers a variety of flexible work options for employees with caregiving responsibilities, including extended family caregiving leave. Further, Daikin Industries rehires all employees who wish to continue working past the statutory retirement age on a full-time, part-time or per diem basis. 

DB Services
Winning Year: 2011
Industry: Railroad Services
Location: Berlin, Germany
Employees 10,160; Percentage over 50: 45%

DB Services, a subsidiary of Germany's railway system, promotes older workers through DB Services Academy, a training camp designed to help older job applicants and the long-term unemployed re-enter the workforce. In addition, DB Services maintains an administrative business unit specially designed to employ workers who are no longer able to work in their physically demanding original positions.

Winning Years: 2011
Industry: Municipal Government
Location: Dortmund, Germany
Employees: 1,904; Percentage over 50: 32.3%          

As part of its efforts to encourage older workers to stay in the workplace, Dortmunder Stadtwerke AG, a public transportation agency, offers re-training or alternate positions to employees who are no longer able to perform their original jobs. All employees benefit from a wide range of physical and mental health promotion benefits, including health check-ups, in-house psychological and addiction counseling, anti-bullying workshops, and stress management training. Further, the company's PRO AGE, or "Program for Age-Friendly Workplace, Health and Development" promotes regular age structure analysis and raises awareness of demographic change in the workforce.  

Elkerliek HospitalWinning Years: 2011
Industry: Hospital Services
Location: Helmond, Netherlands
Employees: 2,226; Percentage over 50: 29.3%

Elkerliek Hospital's approach to workforce management is based on extensive Work Ability Index (WAI) analysis. Measures to enhance the work ability of its workforce include job carving, a practice of separating tasks from several existing positions to create a new position fitting the needs of an employee with a disability. Elkerliek also establishes individual risk profiles for each employee as part of efforts to manage physical and psychological stress.

Jena-Optronik, GmbH
Winning Years: 2011
Industry: Aerospace
Location: Jena, Germany
Employees: 145; Percentage over 50: 42%

An aerospace engineering company, Jena-Oprtronik has created a workplace culture where fair treatment is the base for a positive internal working atmosphere. Jena-Optronik promotes the employability of its older workers through a comprehensive framework, "55plus." Features include flexi-time accounts available to all workers, training modules specifically designed for older workers, and active promotion of mixed-age work teams.

Lam Soon Edible Oils Sdn Bhd
Winning Year: 2011
Industry: Food
Location: Shah Alam, Malaysia
Employees: 1,456; Percentage over 50: 20.1%

Lam Soon Edible Oils pursues a variety of strategies to ensure an age-friendly workplace. Among other best practices, older workers in each function are designated subject matter experts. Their role as facilitators and trainers has helped raise the profile of older workers and contributed to a culture shift in the organization. Flexible work arrangements and opportunities to remain employed beyond the statutory retirement age are attractive to older workers.

Marks and Spencer plc
Winning Year: 2011
Industry: Retail
Location: London, United Kingdom
Employees: 63,992; Percentage over 50:  33.23%

Marks & Spencer, a leading UK department store, offers a partial retirement scheme that allows older workers to draw company pension benefits while continuing to work part-time. Through this program, Marks & Spencer has doubled the number of 65+ employees on its payroll. The company's innovative health promotion initiatives include an interactive web portal that offers employees comprehensive health information, discussion boards, and a popular feature that allows employees to make health pledges.  

National Australia Bank 
Winning Year: 2011
Industry: Financial Services
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Employees: 27,460

National Australia Bank's MyFuture initiative helps 50+ workers extend careers and plan their futures through education on flexibility, work-life balance, and managing personal change. MyFuture further promotes healthy aging, including through health check-ups, an interactive health portal providing online wellness programs, as well as a range of confidential support services to help employees with stress, depression, and work-related issues.  The initiative also includes training and education for managers to help them retain older workers.

National Environment Agency
Winning Year: 2011
Industry: Government
Location: Singapore
Employees: 3,338; Percentage over 50: 47.9%

The National Environment Agency of Singapore makes concerted efforts to utilize older workers as mentors to younger staff and as instructors for internal training programs.  Employees are encouraged to work beyond Singapore's statutory retirement age and most are re-hired. Most recently, NEA launched a consultancy arm that will deploy experienced older workers for temporary overseas projects.

Raffles Institution   Winning Year: 2011
Industry: Education 
Location: Singapore
Employees: 545; Percentage over 50: 15.6%

Raffles Institution, a secondary school, promotes alternative work options to meet employees' work and family commitments and to accommodate individual health conditions. In addition, Raffles has created a comprehensive strategy for promoting the health and well-being of its staff. The strategy includes health and eye screenings, health counseling and information, healthy food options, gym access, sports programs, and reimbursement of up to $1,500 for spending on anything that promotes health or work-life balance. 

Salzburg AG für Energie, Verkehr und Telekommunikation
Winning Year: 2010, 2011
Industry: Energy and Infrastructure
Location: Salzburg, Austria
Employees: 2,136; Percentage over 50: 34.2%

Salzburg AG has adopted a life-cycle approach to employee management through project GENERA, an initiative that aims to accompany employees through different phases of their lifetime at the workplace. Salzburg AG further places significant emphasis on health promotion. "Giving Energy-Living Energy," an initiative created to help address critical fields of action identified by employees, has led to a variety of recreational offerings ranging from Qigong classes to smoking-cessation and healthy cooking programs. Salzburg AG also runs "Health Circles," a program aiming to solicit older employee's feedback and suggestions on how to improve the workplace.

The Co-operative Group  
Winning Year: 2011
Industry: Grocery Retailing, Financial Services, Travel, Agriculture, Funeral Services
Location: Manchester, United Kingdom
Employees: 95,448; Percentage over 50: 24.6%

A consumer cooperative with a diverse range of business interests, The Co-operative Group has taken several measures to remove barriers for older workers. These include flexible pension options for workers who wish to remain employed beyond pensionable age, mandatory training for managers on the benefits of age diversity and anti-age discrimination measures, and changes to recruitment practices to ensure older applicants have equal opportunities. 

The AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50 Award-International recognizes non-U.S.-based employers whose innovative workforce and/or human resource practices address issues relevant to 50+ workers and create roadmaps for the workplace of tomorrow. This program runs parallel to AARP's Best Employers for Workers Over 50 Award, which has recognized U.S.-based companies for good workforce and human resource practices since 2001.

As the proportion of workers age 25 to 44 declines, attracting and retaining older, experienced employees is becoming increasingly critical for employers seeking to retain their competitive edge in today's marketplace. By recognizing employers around the world that have demonstrated innovative efforts to address issues relevant to an aging workforce, AARP encourages all employers to create a mutually beneficial environment that values the potential of younger and older workers alike.

The AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50 Award-International is open to all employers headquartered outside of the U.S., as well as the foreign subsidiaries/operations of U.S.-based companies.

As workplace policies of general application are often also beneficial to older workers, programs targeted to this age group are not required to be eligible for the award. Programs of particular value to the 50 and older age group may, however, earn additional credit in the evaluation.