Old: over the hill or top of the pile?

Posted by | February 26, 2014 | Employers, General, Job Seekers, Recruiters, Update

Baby Boomers are reshaping the mix of people in the workplace, bringing a challenge to employers who want the experience of an “old head” but on young shoulders.

Two conspicuous issues with older employees is, first, they are not the tech-natives that young people are and can be slow to embrace technological change and expansion.

Second, they have typically been less mobile throughout their career and so tend to have a narrow view of their industry or work sector based on their work history.

On the upside, stability brings certain planning certainty for a business, and experience, especially when combined with some initiative, can be a company’s most valuable asset.

Employees of any age and background are as varied as people in the wider community, but some generalisations are reasonable when it comes to older workers.

Many are in a stable personal and financial position and are therefore not looking over the fence of alternative employers all the time, keen to kick off a bidding war.

That said, pay and conditions might want to take some measure of the value the employee brings through experience and stability. Age should not be a career restricting condition.

Some older workers and staff don’t recognise the value their experience, not least because many have worked in environments where they were not encouraged to think and contributions to improved harmony or productivity were not sought or acknowledged when given.

Teasing out the value and benefit of that experience can be rewarding for a proprietor or manager, and rewards can be tangible.

When it comes to the image a business or company projects when it employs older people, it shows it is inclusive, has depth and stability that is a consequence of experience and it very often has someone who can speak as an equal to experienced customers and others the business deals with.

Someone who has the bruises and scars of past battles is most likely to have the patience and diplomacy to diffuse or manage potential conflict as well as optimize the public relations opportunities.


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