As life expectancy rates climb to greater heights than ever before, more experienced individuals are considering staying in the workforce for longer. However, this can be made considerably harder by the prevalence of ageism in the workforce.
With discrimination being perpetrated consciously or through unconscious bias, older workers are being confronted by ageism at an alarming rate. This is especially disappointing when you consider that most of these biases are based on misconceptions.
At the end of the day, when an organisation allows ageism to permeate through their workforce, they are worse off. This is because older talent can benefit a business and its operations in a myriad of different ways.
Ageism in the workplace
Often regarded as the most widely experienced discrimination in the workplace, ageism in the workforce is damaging on a number of levels. Firstly, workers feel undervalued and unappreciated.
Secondly, workplaces who buy into ageist misconceptions and stereotypes are depriving their workforce of valuable additions. Limiting everything from efficiency levels to effectiveness.
With almost half of those surveyed by Australian Seniors expressing that ageism in Australia is more prevalent today compared to 20 years ago, it’s evident that workplace ageism is a pervasive issue.
Common ageist stereotypes include:
- Older workers will be absent more due to illness
- Workers from a certain generation are less creative
- Older talent are tech resistant
- Older workers are mentally slower and therefore less productive
- People of a certain age are less creative
- Older generations resent working under young supervisors
- Due to their age, older talent are burnt out
- Older individuals are adverse to the idea of work travel
8 key benefits of hiring older talent
There truly is no place for ageism in the workplace. Especially seeing as studies have concluded that, while mental powers do decline with age, intelligence never fades. In fact, things like verbal reasoning and acquired knowledge continue to grow with age.
Buying into and displaying common ageist stereotypes hurts older workers and the overall organization. On one hand, workers with so much left to give are forced out of the workforce. On the other hand, organizations lose access to key skill sets.
With age comes experience, along with a myriad of other benefits. All of which organizations can enjoy by ignoring common stereotypes and hiring people from all generations.
1. A Wealth of Experience
Older talent brings with them a wealth of relevant experience. They have been around the business world for years and understand what works and what doesn’t work. As common business principles never change, this inherent understanding is invaluable.
2. Unwavering Loyalty
When hiring older workers, organizations enjoy an increased level of loyalty. Older workers aren’t looking to climb the career ladder. Therefore, they are less likely to depart your company in search of other opportunities. Reducing expenditure relating to turnover rates.
3. Extremely innovative
With experience in everything from different company styles to different working perspectives, older workers are incredibly innovative. This means they can easily pinpoint where things need improvement in order to succeed.
4. Mentoring capabilities
A wealth of experience means a wealth of information to share. Instead of relying on manuals and guidelines to learn certain business aspects, younger people can hear firsthand accounts from older talent. Achieving a deeper level of business understanding.
5. Vast contact network
As older workers have spent years in business, they undoubtedly possess a large network of contacts. This could help businesses just starting out to schedule key meetings. These contacts could even provide help to businesses experiencing a last-minute crisis.
6. Inherent workplace wisdom
Working in an office requires certain skills. This includes everything from understanding how to get along with people to solve problems with minimal drama. Older talent already know how to co-exist at work, increasing the chance of building a cohesive team.
7. Excellent customer service
Having spent a vast proportion of their lives talking and listening, older workers are skilled communicators. Able to pick up on social cues and use conflict resolution tools, older workers are more emotionally mature and are skilled in dealing with customers effectively.
8. Attention to detail
Key factors in the brain that deal with things like knowledge and expertise keep increasing as we age. This means that older workers possess increased attention to detail. Helping to identify mistakes or issues before they can become larger business problems.
The key to enjoying sustained success? Hiring older talent
With ageist stereotypes and age-related discrimination more prevalent than ever before thanks to the rise of technology, it’s not hard to understand why some organizations are reluctant to introduce older workers into their workforce.
However, buying into these common stereotypes and misconceptions is harmful on many levels. Older workers are left feeling underappreciated and undervalued. While organizations miss out on a large section of talent.
Businesses must use every available advantage in order to remain competitive. As older workers possess experience, business acumen, and a flair for communication, hiring older talent really is key to enjoying a competitive edge and therefore, sustained success.