Some employers believe older workers are more expensive and harder to manage and so once you reach a particular age threshold, holding on to your job or finding a new one becomes increasingly difficult. A 2014 survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that 22% of those unemployed under the age of 25 had looked for work 27 weeks or longer while workers 55 years and older searched twice as long. As the workforce ages, it’s not surprising that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has seen age discrimination complaints increase 15% over the last decade.
Many of you reading this article might be horrified to find out that at the age of 50 you are considered an “older” worker. But this shouldn’t be surprising since millennial twenty-somethings now make up a majority of the workforce. Don’t worry though, you aren’t alone. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 30% of Americans 55 or older were working in 1991 while today more than 40% are. This is the first time in U.S. history according to the EEOC that four generations of the workforce, pre-boomers, boomers, GenX and millennials are engaged in the workforce at the same time.
Before you toss the “older” worker’s resume into the trash in favor of what you feel will be a less expensive more energetic worker, take a look at the following reasons why older might be better.
Older workers are more experienced. Workers 50 years and older can help fill talent shortages. Older, more experienced workers are also better equipped to handle problems and emergencies and mentor younger generations. If you haven’t yet, watch the movie trailer for The Intern. Robert DeNiro plays a 70 year old intern at a hot ecommerce company run by Ann Hathaway and her platoon of millennials. I’m sure heat warming hilarity will no doubt ensue as the old dinosaur shows the young whipper snappers what the important things in life are. This movie is a sign that Hollywood is noticing the aging workforce and how older workers have much to offer despite the perceived limitations associated with their age.
Older workers are more reliable. According to research out of the University of Kentucky, older workers show up for work on time more often than younger generations.
Older workers have a stronger work ethic. Younger generations are more likely to arrive late and leave early while older workers tend more to arrive early and leave late. The majority of older workers have no children at home in dire need of dinner or help with their homework.
Older workers are more loyal. According to a study by Aon Hewitt workers fifty years and over are less likely than younger workers to leave their jobs abruptly.
Older Americans are exceptional consumers and older workers of course understand this demographic. Who better to provide insight into what types of products older consumers desire than employees of the same age?
Older workers ease the burden placed on Social Security. As more workers continue to work past retirement, the fear of having to pay benefits to an army of retiring baby boomers is now less heightened. As the Social Security Administration put it, “[delayed retirement] shortens the retirement period that needs to be funded and can generate additional savings”.
Older workers are more experienced, reliable, loyal and have a stronger worker ethic. Hire them! Their golden years could be your golden years.