Study Shows Support for Hiring Older Workers
A few months ago I received an email from a woman in her 50s who lamented the fact that she was having a hard time finding a "decent job" in Moore County.
"I, for one, have been looking for a position for over two years, as have many people I know, and cannot find one," she wrote.
The woman said there was a large group of people about her age with an "enormous amount of business experience" who have moved here in recent years and find themselves in the same boat.
Their quandary flies in the face of a recent Adecco Staffing US survey of hiring managers in a wide range of industries nationwide.
The poll found that hiring managers are three times more likely to hire a worker age 50 and up (60 percent) than a much younger employee (20 percent).
Why the substantial gap?
Rieva Lesonsky, CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses, said it seems older workers have what companies are looking for.
"The best solution for hiring the right people for your team?" Lesonsky writes in a recent Internet post. "Look at people as people - not as representatives of a generation - and work with them to bring out their strengths, whatever those may be."
The survey makes the case for older workers in that almost all (91 percent) of respondents say they consider such workers reliable, and 88 percent say they are professional.
"But that doesn't mean they're perfect," Lesonsky says.
Stumbling blocks preventing companies from hiring older workers include the workers' difficulty in adapting to new technologies (39 percent), their salary and compensation expectations (51 percent), their "overconfidence" about their abilities and experience (48 percent), and their perceived inability to take direction from younger managers (33 percent).
On the other hand, the biggest obstacle keeping companies from hiring workers in their 20s is their uncertainty about such workers' long-term commitment to the company (46 percent). About one-fourth (27 percent) are also worried that young workers won't take direction from older managers.
In addition, hiring managers say so-called millennials make some common mistakes that can hurt their chances of a job offer, including "wearing inappropriate interview attire" (75 percent) and "posting potentially compromising content on social media channels" (70 percent).
"As someone over 50 myself, I'm happy to see older workers' contributions and experience getting their due," Lesonsky says.
Adecco also cited the top jobs for mature workers, based both on their skills and on current growth areas.
"If you're hiring a training/learning instructor, financial consultant or adviser, tourism guide, retail sales or customer service representative, technical writer or quality control engineer, consider an older worker, who is likely to have the right combination of traits for the job," Lesonsky says.
The only survey caveats for Lesonsky were the stereotypes she saw in the responses.
"Yes, millennials may not be committed to your company long-term," she says. "But is that a bad thing, or is it just to be expected of entry-level employees who are still finding out where their interests and strengths lie?
"Older workers may want more compensation. But isn't that a fair trade for the experience, stability and loyalty they bring to the table?"
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at (910) 693-2474 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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