Did you know the over 50s are the fastest growing segment of the British population?
It’s no secret that we’re all getting older.
Yet many older workers wrongly face age discrimination. People over 50 who lose their job are more than twice as likely to be unemployed for more than two years than any other age group. And candidates who are aged over 50, are up to three times less likely to be invited to interview than younger candidates with less relevant experience.
Within the next 20 years, there are going to be 300,000 fewer workers under 30 years old, and 1 million more over 50s. So, unless organisations start embracing older workers, they are going to be trying to hire from an ever-shrinking talent pool.
An expanded talent pool isn’t the only reason why you should hire older workers. There are a whole host of benefits that we’re going to delve into below.
A lifetime of experience
Older candidates will bring a wealth of experience to your business. Not only do they have life experience, but they’ll have accumulated knowledge from their years of working. This can make them better in their role than someone fresh out of university and can benefit the wider business through knowledge transfer.
Multigenerational teams mean everyone can bring their ideas to the table and bounce off each other. Older people can offer their unique insights and good judgement from their years of experience to help weigh up potential risks and benefits. It’s a recipe for exciting innovation.
Older employees are more satisfied and less likely to switch jobs. In fact, over 50s are four times less likely to move jobs compared with 18-29-year-olds. The caveat here is that those older workers need to feel supported and fulfilled in their roles for this to happen but if they are, they’ll be more engaged and more likely to go the extra mile for you. That stability and lower staff turnover is going to benefit your bottom line.
Older workers have often been in the workplace for over 30 years. Over this time, they’ve likely honed their communication skills and become adept at problem-solving and remaining calm in difficult situations. They are also likely to come at tasks from a measured or calculated point of view as opposed to an emotional one, leading to fewer mistakes.
Positive role models
The calm maturity that many older workers bring to your business can rub off on younger or less experienced employees. They often have a good work ethic which can encourage the rest of the team to follow suit.
Older employees often do well in training or mentoring roles, especially if they’ve got previous management experience. As employees reach retirement age, they may want to step back from more responsibility but redesigning their role into more of a coaching one can benefit both the business and the employee who wants to stay in work, just not in the same way.
Resilient to change
There are some misconceptions that older employees are resistant to change but having seen so much change throughout their careers they are actually more likely to be adaptable. They will have seen changes in technology and learnt new skills along the way. Don’t forget, these are the people who have seen the growth of computer usage in the workplace. They’re also likely to have experienced difficult times during their careers, making them more resilient in the face of adversity.
Insight into older customers
Having older workers within your organisation gives you first-hand insight into your older customers. They can help you understand how to best serve their needs. Saga is a well-known provider of services to over 50s. They’re one employer that is embracing its older employees and wants to change the mindset that over 50s aren’t just waiting for retirement and can enjoy continued professional success.
Jane Storm, Chief People Officer at Saga said:
“As a purpose-led business we have a responsibility to build a representative, multigeneration workforce fit for the future, that serves the needs of our customers. Our customers are mostly over 50 and we want to have more colleagues here that reflect the community we serve.”
It’s good for business
And if all the reasons above aren’t enough, increasing the number of older employees is simply good for business. The OECD estimates that giving older people more opportunities to work could raise GDP per capita by 19% over the next 30 years.
Embracing older workers’ unique contributions can strengthen your culture for everyone. It’s a win-win!
Interested in how you can adapt your workplace to recruit and retain more older workers?
Read our guide: How to adapt to an ageing workforce.