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11 reasons why it pays to hire older workers


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About Joanne

An advocate for women's health, strength and knowledge, I write about the issues people don't talk about, as well as the ones they do.


Like Hollywood late bloomers Morgan Freeman, Bryan Cranston and Dame Judi Dench, mature workers have their best work ahead of them.

Morgan Freeman was not recognisable until the release of Driving Miss Daisy, when he was 52 years old. He is now one of the most recognisable faces (and voices) in Hollywood.

Dame Judi Dench did not hit fully her stride until her 60s.

Dame Judi Dench did not hit fully her stride until her 60s. Picture: Shutterstock

Bryan Cranston didn’t shoot to stardom until he was 44, starring in Malcolm in the Middle. He now represents one of the most iconic characters in TV history, Breaking Bad’s Walter White.

Dame Judi Dench was 61 at the time of her breakout role in Goldeneye in 1995. She’s now one of the greatest and most well-respected actresses of all time.  

All launched their careers at a time in their lives where most people would say it’s too late.

But who says you can’t make your mark in your career once you’re 50?

The 2015 Intergenerational Report projects that by 2055, the number of Aussies over 65 will more than double, and our average life expectancy will increase to 95.1 for men and 96.6 for women. This means there’s a greater time period for us to live in retirement.

But what if you’re not ready to retire?

There’s an increasing number of retirees and over-50s heading back to work, yet we assume that young people are the desired candidates for most job positions. This can seem daunting and off-putting to some people, but it’s not at all true, with increasing amounts of employers seeking to hire more experienced workers.

Here are 11 attributes you possess that will land you that job:

Experience

Many employers may overlook this attribute when choosing someone to hire, thinking younger people are better suited to many jobs because their youth brings agility and innovation. Men and women fresh out of university may have spent years studying a particular field of work, but throw them into a real-life tricky situation and many will flounder. Experience is an undeniably invaluable trait.

Confidence

It’s a huge asset to any company or corporation to have employees who have the self-confidence and assurance to share their ideas and recommendations. Often, this confidence is one that can only come from experience, which many younger workers will not have gained yet.

Responsibility

As a generalisation, young workers can sometimes be careless and irresponsible with their work, where older workers are more dedicated and responsible. Enjoying your job means you’re more careful with tasks you’ve been assigned, and more likely to pick up on errors which others may overlook.

Reliability

If you’re working for the sake of working, you would love, or at least enjoy, your job and therefore look forward to getting up each morning to go to work. This reliability to arrive on time and ready to go is a great convenience and reassurance to employers.

Work ethic

Studies have shown that morals and ethics are traits deemed more important by older workers, as opposed to younger workers. Being diligent and hard-working in your job is something employers take notice of, and can instantly set you apart from others who don’t share these values.

Leadership skills

Older workers often have strong communication skills. Where young people are more adept at technology, the skill of being able to adeptly communicate face-to-face is not as common within this generation. Few people have as naturally confident people skills as the Baby Boomers.

Loyalty

If you love your job and have a good rapport with your employers and colleagues, you would feel a greater sense of belonging and commitment, and may stay for a longer period of time. Where younger people may be constantly on the lookout for greener pastures, loyalty to your job and employer can lead to monetary and leave rewards for long tenure.

Problem-solving skills

Instant gratification is something Millennials are growing up expecting and, as such, it can be easier for them to throw in the towel when things get tough. Baby Boomers were raised to persevere through challenges, so when faced with a problem, you know how to tackle it from different angles to find a viable solution.

Maturity

This is something that comes with experience, so youngsters would not have been around long enough to fully develop theirs. Maturity in the workforce aids in decision-making situations that require greater thought and consideration, resulting in the ability to better handle problems that may rattle others.

You know what you want

You have been working your entire life, so going to a new job after 50 means you probably aren’t searching for your vocational calling. If you find a new job during this time in your life, chances are that you’re working because you want to be working, not because of a need for financial stability, like many young staff.

Ability to mentor

Young people are naturally drawn to older people for guidance, particularly in the workplace environment. This can inadvertently lead to mentor relationships, giving you the opportunity to pass on your wisdom and offer young workers some valuable tools.

Remember these traits the next time you go for a job interview and you can be sure to knock that 20-something tech head out of the running. You just may be a more valuable asset than you know!

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