Updated: Sep 13
We live in a world where working is seen as a young man’s game.
According to a 2020 study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, workers over the age of 40 are only about half as likely to get a job offer as younger workers if employers are aware of their age.
This idea that the older an individual gets, the less useful they become as a worker is unfounded, and arises from a concept called ageism, meaning to discriminate against someone based on age.
Luckily, ageism has a cure: Information.
So you can make an informed decision during your next hire, here are just some of the benefits of employing older workers:
Leadership and Experience
Thanks to years of experience in the workforce, older workers usually have very well-developed communication and conflict resolution skills as well as direct experience supervising a team.
Furthermore, an older worker’s abundance of sheer knowledge and practical experience can help fill the essential skills gap you may be experiencing with a surplus of younger workers.
This breadth of experience could be just what your company needs to effectively manage its employees while mentoring younger workers for continued success.
Loyalty and Dependability
Unlike younger workers, older workers are usually looking to settle down rather than gain some experience and move on.
According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, older workers aged 55-64 had a median tenure, or average time spent in position, three times longer than that of younger workers aged 25-34.
In terms of dependability, through years of experience, older workers have learned what it means to be a good worker, making them more likely to show up on time, put true care into their work, and follow through on responsibilities.
Having worked for multiple different employers and met many fellow professionals over their lifetime, older workers are more likely to have a large and effective network of contacts.
Having gained their connections before the rise of LinkedIn and other digital networking platforms, these networks often have a deeper, more personal nature.
This well-developed network can act to your benefit as an employer by expanding your customer base through recommendations to new populations and might even give rise to profitable business partnerships.
You are limiting your business’s potential by solely hiring younger workers.
Just as two heads are better than one, a group of workers with diverse backgrounds provides you with the ultimate recipe for success.
Whether you are tailoring your services toward a particular customer base or brainstorming solutions for company improvement, hearing representation from all age groups will make problem-solving easier and increase overall customer satisfaction.
Approachability and Inclusivity
Customers often perceive older workers as more welcoming, less intimidating, and more knowledgeable than younger workers.
Customers like seeing older workers because it signifies that the company values its employees enough to make long-term investments in them and in the community.
Therefore, by employing older workers, you will not only allow customers to feel more at ease but will also receive the added benefit of exemplifying inclusivity.
Written by: MacKenzie Verhelst, BAPsych, CVRP
MacKenzie Verhelst is a Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant for Creative Therapy Consultants. MacKenzie is a Certified Vocational Rehabilitation Professional (CVRP) and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from McGill University. She demonstrates expertise in vocational assessment, resume/cover letter development, interview preparation, active job search support, and job sustainment services. MacKenzie is passionate about helping others reach their utmost potential and advocates for finding joy in work. To learn more about Vocational Rehabilitation services, please visit click here.
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. (2020, September 22). Employee Turnover in 2020. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/tenure.pdf.
2. Neumark, D. (2020, January 06). Age Discrimination in Hiring: Evidence from Age-Blind vs. Non-Age-Blind Hiring Procedures. Retrieved from https://www.nber.org/papers/w26623?mod=article_inline