Valuing Older Workers

About 200 employers, from Google to AT&T to MetLife, have signed an AARP pledge recognizing the value of experienced workers, and vowing to consider applicants 50 and older. What are the perks of hiring maturity?

EXPERIENCE AND TRAINING

For one, life experiences of older employees give them an edge over new, green candidates. KPMG, a New York based company has found success with a high proportion of older workers whose work and life experiences give them credibility. Hand in hand with experience is the fact that older workers have expertise and knowledge in the field they are in, as they have spent many years getting educated and trained, something that is highly respected by organizations.

DEPENDABILITY

Matured workers have more settled lives.They are dependable and less likely to look for greener pastures. Older workers miss less work time as they do not need to tend to sick children and related reasons for taking time off. Also, seniors are less likely to bring crisis from home to work.

FLEXIBILITY

In the workplace, often, employees of advanced age can set their own schedule, and not have to juggle young kids, family and a job. This ability makes them flexible and very attractive to companies. Older workers are flexible too in their employment needs as not all are looking for full time employment. Some are willing to telecommute while others would like to be employed as a consultant. They can work hours that some of the younger hires are unable to and companies can come to depend on such flexibility.

MENTORING

Older employees are true company assets. They can fulfill a very important role of being mentors to new additions to the company. In fact, good mentors can really sustain company morale. It is truly beneficial for younger employees to build a rapport with older and trusted colleagues.

CHEAPER

For companies, ultimately it is cheaper to hire workers of an advanced age. Most have some type of health insurance, including Medicare and at best, if at all, would need a supplemental policy, which is far less than full health coverage.

However, many companies still tend to overlook older applicants. Stereotypes prevail. Hiring managers often view older workers as being not as productive in the workplace. With a wave of baby boomers staying longer in the workforce (over 40% as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is important to remember that acquiring trained, professional workforce with an appetite for learning, an ability to learn quickly and a willingness to be flexible is a company’s dream goal. The Administration of Aging, observes the month of May as Older American’s Month to “Show appreciation and support for our seniors as they continue to enrich and strengthen our community.” Age is an asset, experience, a benefit.

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