Employer Insights

Why You Should Hire Older, Wiser Career Seekers

Jane KennellyPosted by Jane
min read
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​“Old age is no place for sissies.”  Bette Davis

One good thing right now – the employment market is ideal for people of all ages and stages to secure a role to keep earning, learning, focus and enjoy working life.  Unfortunately though, we hear from mature candidates that this positivity isn’t shared by all as there is a feeling that the mature workforce is unwanted, and therefore, finding it hard to secure work.

We concur. Having gathered ad-hoc commentary over the last year via our talent communities, it does point to this bias being a very real issue. So, below we have listed the most common misconceptions touted by Hiring Managers along with a number of benefits in support of mature workers, because, they are ‘good for business’.

Common Misconceptions

This represents the usual common misconceptions that regularly crop up (with monotony) as to why not to employ a mature worker:

  • Cost more than a younger worker in terms of salary and benefits

  • Are more set in their ways

  • Less tech-savvy

  • Have health problems

  • Have less energy and focus

Regarding cost; usually, the skills required in the job determine the cost. It is not unusual that a mature worker applying for a role to have a whole host of skills and expertise that might not be required for the role. In our books, that’s perfectly ok.  Typically they will be very open to meeting the pay scale and as an added advantage, will bring ‘bang for buck’.

One of the interesting facts revealed in researching hiring the mature worker fell right at the feet of the hiring process itself; often, it turns out, the person doing the hiring is younger than the mature worker and feels intimidated by a mature worker’s experience but won’t admit it.

Its important companies are aware of this and train Hiring Managers to use competency-based interviewing techniques, interview guides and decision-making tools to eliminate this happening. As well, ‘unconscious bias’s training is readily available to assist level-the-playing-field when interviewing e.g. www.diversityworks.org.nz

We are encouraged by Massey University’s long-running study of 11,000 older workers that reports that two-thirds are in good shape and healthy. Not only are they doing just fine, and their health is not declining, they can and want to remain in the workforce.

The most important advantage of older people is their experience. Successful older people use their brains differently, and by doing so are doing just as well as younger people. While they do things differently in general they are more conscientious, agreeable and emotional stable than younger people.

In youth we learn, in age we understand

With loads being documented about the benefits of the older worker, here are some of our ‘top-of-the-pops’ reasons you should feel comfortable having mature workers in the team:

  • Loyalty – where millennials can be more flighty, mature people offer stability and commitment

  • Data shows that people who are older stay on the job three times as long as people who are younger. For companies that are facing problems with turnover, this is a great solution!

  • Perspective and insight – gathered over the years, this allows them to see past the irrelevant issues that trip others up and get to the nub-of-the-issue.

  • Flexible – are used to being asked to flex and change and are generally happy to oblige

  • Fads come and go – they know what works best and they are great mentors for newer staff

  • Life experience – skills and qualities built up over years

Finally, as we all know, younger workers have just as many problems as older workers; they are just different problems.  If hiring ageing workers is not a strategy your company currently has – you could be missing out on a huge opportunity to separate your organization from a talent perspective.

Many talent acquisition processes will fail at overcoming this bias. Why not use this as an opportunity to take advantage of the one giant talent pool that is growing in the world and it’s not 24-34-year olds!

For more information on how Frog can help you, please call us on 09 362 0528 or email frog@frogrecruitment.co.nz

Source:
https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12098618
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2015/09/are-older-workers-less-productive/
https://www.fastcompany.com/3066330/five-ways-for-older-workers-to-combat-age-discrimination