As I continue to go through the responses you have sent me for my next book, I am struck by the number of times folks are talking about going back to work in some form or another after full retirement. This article shares some excellent points about the strengths those of us in our satisfying retirement time of life can bring to a potential employer.
You may be aware of the oncoming “silver tsunami,” which refers to the global aging of the earth’s population. Right now, about 28% of the U.S. population is 50 or older; by 2025, that figure is predicted to increase to more than 35%. By 2030, the global workforce over the age of 55 will rise to 22%. Despite these numbers, it is much harder for an unemployed older worker to get hired than a younger worker. However, over time this could change, as stereotypes about senior citizens are debunked, and more employers come to understand that hiring older workers is actually good for the bottom line. With that in mind, here are six reasons why hiring an older worker is a smart investment.
Older workers are more likely to show up on time, ready to work. Older workers understand that the work flow of a business, be it small or a huge corporation, relies on employees clocking in and clocking out at prescribed times. Being punctual can serve as an example to younger workers. Many older workers work because they want to, not because they have to, and their enthusiasm for a job that values their skills and helps them remain active means they’re apt to show up on time, ready to go.
Many believe social networking, instant messaging, and email has hurt the communication skills of younger workers and devalued the role that interpersonal skills play in the workplace. Older workers, who came up before the advent of Facebook, can mentor younger workers in the art of face-to-face communication. Older workers also value and expect good customer service, and as an employee, will assume that such service is expected of them.
Younger 21st century workers are more likely to move from one job to another. Long-term loyalty to a single employer isn’t a part of the world they grew up in; acquisitions, layoffs, and a culture that embraces mobility are the norm. On the other hand, older workers tend to stick with a job, saving the employer the high cost of hiring and training a replacement.
There’s an assumption among many employers that it is more expensive to employ older as opposed to younger workers. However, the differences in compensation costs are negligible, although an employer should look closely at what their insurance carrier offers in order to determine what those costs will be. Older workers generally have fewer dependents and take fewer sick days, two factors that, along with a commitment to punctuality and job performance, will ultimately save an employer money.
Older workers will draw upon their years of experience in the work force in order to make their and everyone’s job more efficient. The stereotype that says older workers are “slow” to catch on, especially in the digital age, doesn’t hold up when you consider they have years of technical know-how and experience to bring to the workplace. Getting the job done correctly and efficiently has always been key to being a good employee.
There’s really no substitute for life and work experience; the combination of the two is commonly known as wisdom. Thanks to years of accumulated wisdom, older workers are more likely to keep their cool when a customer is freaking out, stay calm when the server crashes and data is lost, and offer support to a co-worker who is caving in under stress. Hiring an older team member or two, or three, or more, is a great way to take advantage of the full range of life experiences that only a diverse group can offer.