Per a government report, workers aged 50 will account for a third of the workforce by 2020. While 88 percent of employers believe that older workers can bring skills and benefits to the business, sadly people aged over 50 are less likely to be recruited once out of work.
Concerns and misconceptions about hiring older employees often cite productivity, low skills, health and opening the job market up to younger workers.
This outlook can have a detrimental effect on business productivity, efficiency, output, staffing costs, and widen the skills deficit already plaguing the labour market.
However, a survey by SilverSurfer suggests that people over the age of 50 might be the answer for businesses on a talent hunt.
The social network, which caters to people in the 50 and over demographic, found that 92 per cent people over 50 have a positive change in their attitude to life since turning 50.
And another 32 per cent said they are more confident in their abilities, having learnt from their experiences.
Many employers report that retaining older workers as part of a multi-generational workforce is good for business. Leaders said it reduced staff turnover costs and created mentorship opportunities.
Businesses could also benefit from improved staff morale as half of respondents in the SilverSurfer survey said they have become more adventurous, 32 per cent said they made more of an effort to make friends and almost half (42 per cent) said laugh things off more easily.
Silversurfers.com marketing director Denise Pritchard told First Women: “There is a bit of myth that older people are shy about learning new skills, we have seen an explosion of older people becoming skilled in new technologies.
“For example, recently Silversurfers.com members accessed the website and Facebook using desktops (40 per cent), tablets (40 per cent) and smartphones (20 per cent).
“Our memberships ranges in age from 50 to 85-plus and it is particularly in the 65-plus age group that we have seen an increase in the use of tablets and smartphones.”
Experience is the best teacher
Contrary to preconceived notions about older workers employer case studies from the Department of Work and Pensions show that the majority of older workers, up to the age of 70, are just as productive as their younger counterparts.
Furthermore, they are more likely to be loyal, take less short-term sickness absence; perform just as just as successfully in training and; make better judgements due to experience.
Pritchard: said: “Professionals in their 50s are ideal employees for SMEs because they often started their careers in an era where they held junior positions and worked their way up through the organisation.
“This means that they have a good working knowledge of how organisations function and are comfortable with being flexible about taking on new or different responsibilities, which may be necessary when a company is growing.”
SMEs with limited HR and training resources can make small changes to recruitment and operations practices to assimilate an older generation of workers.
These include: adopting age-friendly policies such as flexible working and family care leave; focusing on the type of skills and experience needed to do the job; monitoring the ages of applicants, short-listed candidates and successful recruits to identify and address any unintended age bias and; offering work experience opportunities to people of any age. Employers should also address health matter such as menopause, provide support for older women who are going through it.