“Is Age Just a Number? Why Hiring Candidates Over 50 Won’t Hurt Your Organization’s Growth”
By: Susan Ruhl
Being that I have been in the workforce for over 25 years, I have been hearing for quite some time that if you are over 50 and a job seeker, chances are, companies will not hire you. Heck, they rarely even call you in for an interview if they are aware of your age from the start. I don’t believe this is always true but as I get older, I definitely have become aware that I can be discounted simply due to my age. In reality, workers over 50 can bring a lot to the table.
Here are a few reasons employers should make hiring workers over age 50 a priority.
- Older workers have experience.
An obvious benefit of older workers is the experience and level of skills they can bring to a job. Often, people over 50 can bring time honored solutions that which younger generations might not yet be aware of.
Sure, employers may have legitimate concerns about older workers being less astute when it comes to technology, but those skills can be taught. On the other hand, no amount of training can give a younger worker the wisdom gained through 20 or 30 years spent in the field.
- Older workers provide reliable service.
Providing great customer service often requires someone that has the capability to evaluate issues and make better, quicker decisions. This is an area where older workers tend to excel. Not only are they more reliable in their responses, they also tend to approach issues with more maturity than a younger worker.
- Older workers have confidence.
Perhaps as a result of all that experience, older workers are often more confident than their younger colleagues. For example, a role that requires convincing senior level leaders to get on board with a new initiative could call for more confidence and experience than a younger worker may possess.
While a few younger workers may be up for that challenge, some positions are best suited for those who possess a mix of confidence and expertise that only age can bring.
- Older workers are loyal.
Older workers may be more loyal. This can be particularly true for new hires who are grateful for the job.
A 2013 study by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found 9 in 10 workers older than age 50 are somewhat or very satisfied with their jobs. Meanwhile, according to the 2014 Conference Board Job Satisfaction survey, only 3 in 10 workers younger than age 25 could say the same.
By age 50, many workers no longer have the worry of dividing their loyalties between work and family. Children are grown, or at least older, meaning typically, less time and energy needs to be devoted to home life. It is easier to concentrate on work when your attention is not being split between responsibilities.
50 Is the ‘Perfect Age’
For employers looking for the right combination of professionalism and vitality in their new hires, there is a lot to like about 50-something job applicants. Hiring workers who’ve passed the half-century mark shouldn’t be seen as an act of pity; it should be seen as a strategic move that’s a win-win for employers and employees alike.