When you think of new hires, who do you picture? While you may expect applicants to be 20-somethings straight out of college or 30- to 40-somethings making a career change, in reality, you’ll likely see more applicants who are older adults.
Gary A. Officer
President and CEO, Center for Workforce Inclusion
Gary A. Officer is president and CEO of the Center for Workforce Inclusion, which empowers older job seekers to attain in-demand skills, overcome barriers to employment, and secure employment.
According to a U.S. Special Committee on Aging report, workers 55 and older will soon represent 25% of our nation’s workforce. Now more than ever, businesses must recognize that older workers bring much-needed experience, emotional intelligence, and generational diversity to our workplaces.
Not convinced? Here are five key values older workers offer employers:
1. Problem-solving abilities
Problem-solving is a critical skill attained over time. Through their lived experience in the workforce, older workers have accumulated a wealth of industry-specific knowledge they can use to make informed decisions that help your business thrive. More importantly, they can impart this knowledge to younger colleagues, providing mentorship opportunities and leading to a more innovative team.
A 2018 study by Cloverpop found that multigenerational teams with an age range of 25 years or more (from the youngest to the oldest member) met or exceeded expectations 73% of the time, while those with a narrow range of less than 10 years did so only 35% of the time.
Older workers are incredibly reliable. You can count on them to show up on time to meetings, meet strict deadlines, and provide a consistency that may be missing from your workplace. Best of all, they set a positive example for the rest of the company.
3. Improved team productivity
It’s been reported that 7 out of 10 workers in the United States enjoy working with people from other generations. These benefits extend beyond workplace satisfaction. Significant profitability and performance gains have been reported for companies with above-average diversity.
For example, according to an AARP report, companies with above-average diversity in age, gender, nationality, career path, industry background, and education on their management teams report innovation revenue that is 19% higher and profit margins that are 9% higher than companies with below-average diversity.
Older adults have seen technology rapidly change throughout their lifetime. Contrary to popular belief, older workers are adaptable, and willing to learn and master new skills and technologies.
The fact is that they’ve had to adapt quickly to keep pace with the increasingly connected and technology-forward world. These experiences have taught them to effectively navigate change, a valuable asset for businesses across many industries.
5. Low turnover
Hiring and training new employees can cost a company extensive time, money, and resources. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that workers ages 55-64 typically stay with a company for nearly 10 years, more than three times the rate of workers ages 25-34.
Age is a value-add, not a detriment
While working for the Center for Workforce Inclusion, I’ve seen firsthand the benefits of hiring older employees. Embracing age diversity in your workforce can only help to improve your company’s overall performance and workplace culture.