Please note the June 5 update to this article, It's Official: Postal Service Has More Older Workers Than Any Fortune 500 Company.
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.
"The average age of postal employees is 53," Patrick Donahoe, who is now the Postmaster General, told Bloomberg Businessweek last year.
That doesn't mean that 50% of USPS employees are 53 or older. A more meaningful statistic would be the median age (brush off your high school math textbooks, folks), but the Postal Service doesn't seem to have released that number.
Another clue to the age of postal workers is this statement from the Postal Service's 2010 Action Plan for the Future: "Over the next 10 years, over 300,000 employees — more than half the current workforce — will be eligible to retire." That indicates that well over 50% of USPS employees are over 45.
And the numbers certainly show that the postal workforce has far more older workers than the Fortune 500 as a whole, where the average of over-50 employees is 25.6%.
"It is important to remember that at this point we do not have information on whether or not these employers have committed to hiring older workers, we simply know that they do or do not tend to already employ older workers — either through new hires or retaining existing employees as they age," RetirementJobs.com says.
Many of the companies that rank high on the list, according to U.S. News & World Report, have "a strong union presence" and have gone through significant downsizing -- just like the Postal Service. "When they have had layoffs and they use seniority as the basis for that, it will appear that they have a preference for older workers," said Barry Bluestone, a Northeastern University political economy professor, in the article.
Downsizing through attrition -- mostly from retirements -- is a major part of the Postal Service's strategy to reduce costs in light of declining mail volumes.