There’s a lot of literature out there concerning diversity and the consequences of bias in hiring. There’s a good reason for that of course; minority groups are disproportionately affected by bias of all types, but bias isn’t limited to minority groups. The amount of articles telling folks how to job-hunt and combat age-bias after 50 is, frankly, saddening to see. According to Renee Ward of Seniors4Hire, a career counseling firm based in Huntington Beach, California as reported in MarketWatch, “Age discrimination is definitely alive and well… Hiring managers aren’t interested in the 50+ crowd.” And that’s a shame, because hiring seasoned candidates comes with benefits that companies of all sizes can utilize. That’s why we’ve created this list of five reasons to make sure you’re not neglecting to hire more seasoned candidates.
- Increase diversity
There’s a lot of talk about creating a diverse workplace, but if your workforce is made up entirely of Millennials, then you’re not really living up to your ideals. Diversity goes beyond skin color, country of origin, or identity. It also includes people from all points of their journey through life. A truly diverse workplace sees youth working alongside experience, sharing and growing from one another. Seasoned employees can also serve as mentors to employees that are newer to the workforce, coaching them on workplace norms and guiding them to better performance. Gen Z employees that are moving into the workforce also rank the availability of a mentor as a top priority in their job search, making an employer more attractive when they have a mix of experience levels to draw from. This mentorship and natural coaching is invaluable, and comes at no cost to the employer.
- Pre-existing knowledge
One of the biggest benefits of hiring employees over 50 is the amount of knowledge that typically comes with age. After spending some time in the working world, these employees may come at a potentially higher salary-cost, but will require less training on not just the subjects they have become experts in, but in cultural norms and business know-how. Many younger people just entering the workforce require training around things like work-appropriate wardrobe, professional interactions with executives, and how to handle conflicts in a healthy way. Seasoned employees have already traveled these roads and have these skills already in place. Which leads us to…
- Less inherent risk
Someone who has been working for decades and learned the social norms surrounding the workplace is less likely to cause interpersonal issues. After all, someone who knows that you aren’t supposed to react aggressively in the workplace is naturally less likely to end up needing intervention or bringing a lawsuit on their employer. Along those same lines, they will also have a richer history to draw from, giving you a full picture of their workplace performance. Think of it like the difference between a blog post and a novel. There’s just more depth, and more evidence to support their ability to meet your needs as an employer. If there are issues in their performance history, there are also more opportunities for you to contact their previous employers and learn about them. You can see patterns more clearly, both good and bad, and make a more confident hiring decision.
Older candidates are often more secure in their skills and their senses of self. Younger employers are still finding themselves, and may even be more likely to leave a position if they discover that the job isn’t what they thought they wanted. If a seasoned candidate is interviewing for a position, they are likely to know exactly what they’re good at, and how they can leverage their skills without trying to play politics around the office. You might find that hiring seasoned candidates means you keep them longer, and get more consistent performances all around.
- It’s the law
It the last few reasons haven’t convinced you, here’s the hardball answer. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) forbids age discrimination against people who are age 40 or older.
When it comes to employment, age really is just a number and if you insist on considering it, consider it a sign of maturity and skill. Once you start reaping the benefits of an age-diverse workplace, you’ll wonder (just like we do) why there is even the need to bring these issues up. The benefits thoroughly outweigh any perceived negatives.
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