I your company built on the strength of a diverse workforce? Because of persistent myths, employers are hesitant to hire older workers and quick to jettison their most experienced people in favor of younger people. According to Age Discrimination Employment Act of 1967 it is against the law to discriminate against older workers, but the practice persists anyway.
The first myth is that older people are set their ways, unproductive, and useless. The truth is that with experience comes wisdom and they are able to do a great job that incorporates old solutions to new problems.
The second myth is that it’s too expensive to train older people; they are not going to stay with the company long enough to recoup your investment. In fact, many people have completed and retired from one career and are ready to start another. They have no intention of going home and sitting in a rocker. They can bring wisdom and insight to your teams that is not otherwise available. Because of their extensive work backgrounds they generally need less training than a younger person with no experience; most have better problem solving skills and more patience.
Myth number three: It can be more expensive to keep older workers on staff. Older employees cost too much and reduce profits. Actually, it can cost less. Anyone over the age of 65 can collect Medicare so that even if you offer a supplemental plan it will be less expensive than full coverage. Older workers take less time off because they have a stronger work ethic; they value their jobs, and understand the importance of their position to the whole. Younger workers are more likely to participate in activities and sports that are somewhat dangerous and thus need time off to recover.
The fourth myth centers on dependability and commitment. You can usually depend on seniors to be where they are supposed to be, and to be diligent in completing their assignments. Younger workers are more likely to be distracted by life; and take more time off the enjoy it. They also do not have the experience to appreciate that they are an important part of the whole and people are depending on them. Seniors understand that customers are not a bother and every aspect of a project is important; if they drop the ball the entire company is affected. The idea of not hiring older workers because of their capability is stupid. Older workers can be a valuable asset to the growth of your business.
Another reason to hire senior workers is that they can attract senior customers away from the competition. With the Baby Boomers becoming seniors, the make-up of your customers will be changing. Seniors may only make up 25% of the population, but they control three quarters of the wealth. Many seniors don’t like to work with younger people; they don’t feel understood. Your older workers can relate better to your changing clientele and bring you more business from unexpected places.