In 2019, 19% of Americans 65 and older were in the workforce — a 7% increase from 1996. By 2026, that number is predicted to grow to 22%, according to estimates from the U.S Bureau Of Labour Statistics. Interestingly, this wasn’t always the case. In fact, a 2019 research by Deloitte showed that 67% of companies still consider older age to be a competitive disadvantage. However, as a business and workforce, you stand to gain a lot from attracting senior employees to your organisation. With the right jobs and the right support from their employers, older workers can add a wealth of experience, innovation, and add needed diversity to your business.
Older workers are known to be more loyal which means your employee turnover rate is diminished. In the Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends project, 54% of workers aged 65 and older are employed because they want to be and not because of need or money. Their desire to be employed means they are driven by passion and career fulfilment and are less likely to be constantly on the hunt for a better paying job.
Older workers also come with years of experience in the workforce and a pre-built professional network. With such experience behind them, your business can utilise their acquired skills and past experiences to launch new, reinforced strategies. They also tend to be better in customer-facing and high pressured roles thanks to improved communication and leadership skills, giving you just another reason to consider older workers for jobs. Once you realise the immense benefits of including older workers in their workforce, you must then focus on how to attract such talent. As an employer, the message, method, and channels you use in recruitment will determine the quality and demographics of your potential candidates.
Many companies across America now offer innovative programs aimed at mature workers in the market including fellowships and return schemes. To use this as inspiration, employers must be prepared to amend the terms of employment to suit older candidates such as offering reduced work hours, emphasized medical and wellness benefits and paid training opportunities for older workers looking to switch professional paths at a later stage. This way companies can still access the merits of hiring an older worker, while senior workers can achieve a work-life balance in retirement.
Another way to attract workers from a mature age pool would be to work in conjunction with local and national organizations — such as community volunteer organizations— to become a point of recruitment. One glance at community programs and volunteer effort shows that a majority of people running these groups are often retired and looking to occupy their time.
Employers must also focus on the employment packages offered to their current workers as well. Many older job seekers that are close to retirement age or those not wanting to commit to a full-time job after 65 feel discouraged to even apply to open vacancies since they only have a few years left or seek amended terms. Offering a phased retirement can address this and encourage more seniors to apply for an opening in your business. It can include a gradual reduction in hours and responsibilities or the option of switching to part-time employment or moving into a consulting role.
You can also work with recruitment agencies and online talent platforms that cater just for mater workers like Operation A.B.L.E that works with those aged 55 and older. Above all, rethink your strategy to recruitment and the benefits lesser employed groups such as mature workers can add to your business and beyond. Doing so will not benefit your bottom line and brand, but impact the economy, the wellbeing and the lives of the workforce at large.
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