We hear a lot about millennials these days, but hear much less about how older workers …
Studies are showing that workers who are 50 to 60 years of age are planning to continue working well beyond the age of 65, according to the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, published in 2015. Unfortunately, few employers have the necessary recruitment and retention programs in place to handle the growing number of older workers who plan to stay working well beyond retirement age.
If your company lacks formal programs for older workers, get ready to be disrupted. Managers who oversee older workers note they are far more loyal, reliable, and productive, according a report conducted in 2009 by the Sloan Center on Aging & Work. Additionally, not only are older workers planning to stay in the workforce longer, they are looking at what’s being coined as “recareering”: plan to change jobs, likely to a completely different industry and job role.
This makes perfect sense.
Older workers are in a position where they know more of “what they don’t want to do,” which helps fuel their passion towards of what “they NOW want to do.”
A a recent article in the Columbus Business First, a publication out of Columbus, Ohio, Robert Dilenschneider highlights 10 great reasons (note: I’m only covering 8 below) why older workers are more critical to your business than ever before.
First, the experience that older workers bring to the table can be impressive — and highly depended upon when problems arise. Not all companies are equipped with the “learning wiggle room” that less experienced workers need versus an otherwise older, more experienced professional. Another words, an older, seasoned professional can troubleshoot and resolve business issues in half the time.
Second, a wealth of experience is generally paired with adequate judgment. Older workers in most cases can review and assess what’s going on within a company, and respond with proper judgment on how best to proceed.
Third, the one BIG ASSET that many employers forget that older workers bring to the table is size of network. Yup, it’s who they know! No matter how advanced online networking and social activities become, the lifeblood of business growth and retention remains strong through one-on-one relationship building and management.
Fourth, millennials are educated to make quick decisions, but sometimes the challenges that companies face requires a person who doesn’t rush with decision making. Calculated (yes, this could mean slower) analysis of a particularly challenging situation and determining the ideal outcome, BEFORE implementing a solution can be the most ideal course of action. Let’s also not forget that sometimes problems take care of themselves, so hastily reacting can be costly.
Fifth, organized and effective writing skills are being replaced with new, shorter communications. This means that younger workers who are oftentimes more focused on mediums that require “short-hands communications” may increasingly become disassociated with writing effectively for those longer forms of communications; e.g. sales copy and letter writing.
Sixth, no one can deny that older workers “have been around the block a few more times,” meaning the seasoned older worker brings a “historical overview of a problem and how it has been tackled in the past” according to Mr. Dilenschneider, Founder and Chairman of the Dilenschneider Group, a PR and communications firm out of New York.
Seventh, no doubt, older workers make great mentors to younger colleagues, bringing an added layer of education and troubleshooting skills to any group. Younger workers have been known to be far more productive, have increased awareness, and excel much faster in their careers when they have mentors. Older workers who pass on their knowledge to the next generation also get great satisfaction out of mentoring arrangements.
Eighth, for those companies who require occasional overtime or out-of-state meetings, older workers can offer more freedom with their schedule because they are unlikely have small children at home.
Unprecedented Education for Older Workers
What’s also fueling longer careers is the unprecedented number of educational programs now available to professionals of all ages. For example, managers and executives in the Columbus, Ohio, area have several graduate programs available; e.g. Fisher College’s Executive MBA program, Ohio University’s MBA program, and Otterbein University’s Executive MBA program.
Additional lifelong learning and volunteer programs are available through the Ohio Department of Aging for adults aged 50 and over include:
An additional job resource for older Ohioans includes:
Industries/Job Roles That Hire Older Workers
For older workers, what industries/job roles show the most promise?
Industries that tend to attract more older workers include healthcare, with growth also seen amongst science, technology, engineering, and math jobs.
Some “pockets” of companies inherently prefer older workers, for example defense contractors. Defense contractors fiercely pursue retiring military who hold specialized skill sets; not always older workers per se, but certainly those with more than 20+ years of specialized skills from the military are pursued aggressively as well. MacAulay-Brown, Inc., specifically notes on their website, “More than half of our employees are veterans or have served in the armed forces.”
Older workers would be wise to pursue top Ohio employers. For example, employers outside of healthcare and military support include JPMorgan Chase, Fifth Third Bank, Englefield Oil, and the U.S. Postal Service.