By Dianne Shaddock
Savvy employers know that in order to have a broad perspective of experience, and ideas in the workplace, it’s important to hire workers that are not cookie cutter versions of the rest of your staff. This includes taking advantage of the rich resources that older workers can provide to an organization; even if the job that you are recruiting for is an “entry level” position.
Let’s face it, choosing to not hiring someone on the basis of their age is illegal, yet some older workers still suffer from the sting of age discrimination. Like other forms of discrimination, age discrimination can be very subtle and not always recognized or acknowledged.
Choosing not to hire an applicant because they have too much experience can be perceived as a form of subtle discrimination because it inadvertently rules out candidates who have several years of experience.
There is the belief that older workers, who have been employed for decades, are no longer interested in working once they reach retirement age. The mindset that one should retire at age 65 and make room for the younger generation in the workplace is gradually disappearing. Employers are realizing that many mature workers aren’t interested in retiring just because they are of a particular age. These are employees who enjoy, what they do, are good at it, and want to continue making contributions to the organization.
The advantages to hiring older workers are varied. Older workers offer
A strong work ethic
Strong problem solving, and trouble shooting skills
Ability to work autonomously
Good judgment skills based on past experience
The maturity and interest to mentor co-workers based on their years of experience in the workplace.
Excitement about the changes in the workplace as it relates to new technology.
Of course younger workers have similar attributes and not all workers whether they are younger or older can be labeled as the “best” type of employee to hire in any situation. But, our older workers offer skills and real life work experience and perspectives that their younger counterparts simply cannot match based on their lack of overall years in the workforce.
The key is to take advantage of what our entire potential workforce has to offer which includes mature workers; even for those positions where it is assumed that there is not an interest because of the candidate’s vast experience. A workforce made up of a microcosm of our community, be they young, mature, male, female, or people of color can only help to make a company more dynamic and richer given the varied skills, experience and perspectives that difference brings to the table.