Stereotypes abound at the workplace. Age discrimination has been no exception but recent trends seem to indicate that employers are finding justification for hiring more mature workers. While previous criticism of senior employees has included their resistance to change and lack in technological skills, many baby boomers are bringing a great intangible to the workplace: experience.
Some chief executive officers claim they are unable to advertise for older employees, yet they confirm life experience frequently tops other talents in the job market. Studies have shown than older Americans feel they are subjected to age discrimination at work, and the numbers are mixed on unemployment in their demographic. Many experts feel that the American population is reflecting a subtle shift in the labor force. According to a recent AARP report, a high number of employers are beginning to acknowledge the life skills an older work force brings.
Many baby boomers at the top of the managerial pecking order may be over sixty themselves, so this can be a justification for supporting older employees. They cite strong factors as better job performance, a willingness to work longer hours, and better analytical skills. Younger workers have an expected edge in the more physical jobs but they simply cannot beat the rich accumulation of lifetime knowledge older folks bring.
An additional edge for older workers is an ability to establish a relationship with a company’s more mature clientele. Trends indicate a steady job ethic even during the struggling economy in recent years, and leading staffing agencies are beginning to recruit the over-fifty crowd.
One New York-based consulting firm has contended that older workers pay off in the long run, don’t require a lot of training, and give them the most bang for the buck, excelling in the quality of work they provide.
Regardless of the stereotypes, age discrimination can be detrimental to the workplace and the employee. Acceptance of diversity in the workplace can only make the job a richer place to go and workers part of a healthier team.
nj.com, “As Boomers continue to look for work, employers find age can bring needed experience” No author given, Sep. 18, 2013