In the past four years, INS has worked with more than 2,000 people at various stages of their career with 60% of these being over 45 years and 29% being over 55 years.
Over this period, we have come across considerable misconceptions (both individual’s, and organisational) regarding mature age workers prompting us to look at the research. We were not surprised that the research matched what we had learned on a practical level, confirming that the myths surrounding the employment of older workers, particularly those 55+, do not stack up when you look at the facts.
The Australian Human Rights Commission published a ‘myth busters’ article based on their research, debunking a lot of the myths and stereotypes associated with older workers. What we are trying to do in this article is to demonstrate the numerous benefits of employing older workers.
Older workers are flexible and adapt to change
Despite the platitude “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” older workers have time and time again proved themselves to be very flexible, understanding and good at coping when faced with change as they are able to capitalise on their broader life and work experience. They are also willing to be flexible with working hours and conditions.
Older workers benefit from training
Training acquired later in life has as good if not a better payoff than training acquired at a younger age. A wealth of experience in both personal and professional fields allows older workers to absorb more meaning from their training. Employers who are concerned that training is wasted on older workers because they are more likely to retire or forget their skills are wrong in their assumption. Younger workers change jobs and positions frequently and still are trained. Training is always worth the money!
Older workers are productive and motivated
The stereotype of the office dinosaur who does no more or less than his or her exact job description is just that: a stereotype. Older workers, according to the Queensland government report “have the advantage of greater experience and maturity, commitment to their work and a highly developed work ethic.”
Older workers are more loyal than their younger counterparts
Interestingly the research shows that workers over 45, generally remain with their employer 2.4 times longer than those under 45, bringing reliability and loyalty to an organisation. Therefore training older workers to perform a particular skillset is even more important.
Older workers are able to work longer than previous generations
As this generation of older workers has generally worked in less physically demanding jobs than previous generations, they are mentally and physically more able to provide high-quality outputs. This, in turn, inspires younger workers to produce higher quality work.
Older people are technology fluent
The misconception that older people cannot manage new technology has been disproven time and time again. There are more people over the age of 50 playing video games than there are under 18 and older people are the fastest-growing group of Internet users. In addition, there are more avenues for learning about how to use new technology than ever before. A CodeAcademy, Lynda or YouTube tutorial can guide older workers through new technology in the same way they do younger workers.
Why not employ older workers?
If you are an employer, line manager, or HR professional you are in an especially powerful position to lead your organisation to access an abundance of skills, capabilities and loyalty when you include (and not exclude) older workers in your recruitment.
If you are a mature age worker, we challenge you to consider how you might represent yourself and your transferable skills.
Feel free to give us a call, or drop us an email to discuss and let us know your views.
Career tips and freebies. Delivered to your Inbox.
Get all of the latest content first.Give it a try. It only takes a click to unsubscribe.