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    Older workers – recruitment and the over-50s

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        The notion of retirement divides the nation. For some older workers, retirement can’t come soon enough. Others dread the very word. Then there are those for whom whom retirement is not a viable financial option. In 2016, a report from Public Health England stated that older people residing in the UK are living longer than ever before and many of them still need, or want to work for a living.

        In this week’s blog, we take a look at the benefits of hiring older workers, and the positive qualities that they could bring to your business.


        Research by insurance company Aviva has shown that many people over 50 feel they can bring more skills and experience to the workplace than their younger colleagues. When it comes to your people, experience is invaluable and the over-50’s have it by the bucketload.

        Seasoned workers possess excellent communication skills. Skills they have managed to developed without the aid of the email and social media. For the over-50’s, face-to-face communication was par the course, whether the subject matter was positive, negative or just very complex. Because of this, they are often the very epitome of diplomacy, handling conflict swiftly and efficiently. What’s more, the confidence they’ve acquired as a result means they’re not afraid to voice their opinions and ideas to their colleagues and senior leaders.

        The over 50’s have learned the human art of persuasion in a time when life wasn’t a series of Tweets, insta pics or online profiles. One of the biggest misconceptions about older employees is that they won’t be ‘tech savvy’ enough to fit the bill. Well firstly that’s not necessarily the case. Research by Australian insurance firm Apia has shown that the over-50’s have embraced new technology with serious vigour. Most own and actively using the latest smartphones and purchase and use modern apps.

        Secondly, even if a portion of the generation aren’t social media wizards, they’ve got real-life experience to make up for that. You can teach someone to use LinkedIn, but there are some things you can’t teach – experience being one.


        Those people at the age of retirement know all about change and they can handle it. They’ve seen over decades how the business world has changed and evolved. They’ve negotiated the dawn of automation, the introduction of mobile phones, and the birth of the internet, and they’ve adapted accordingly.

        It’s no surprise then, that when changes are proposed or problems arise, older workers aren’t easily scared. This skills and experience of retiree’s provide an invaluable wisdom in our ever-changing fast-paced working lives.


        There’s no getting away from it; instability within the workforce is bad for business. The UK’s looming skills shortage is unsettling for business. The over-50’s represent an entire pool of untapped talent and it would be a shame to let prejudice and discrimination stop us from accessing it.

        As a general rule, older workers are not looking to climb the corporate ladder like their younger colleagues. They are satisfied with their positions and tend to stick around. According to a report published by the BLS, tenure for employees was at its peak amongst the oldest workers at 10.2 years. Essentially, older workers are loyal and commit to their role within a business. For employers, this means higher retention rates and reduced recruitment costs.

        Employers are discovering that older employees pay serious attention to detail, resulting in less mistakes. They turn up for work on time and stay until the job is done, and done well. You can’t say fairer than that.


        The business case for employing older people is economically sound. Many older job seekers already have a nest egg in place and therefore need less benefit provision. More importantly for employers, they’re working to stay fulfilled, making it less likely that you’ll need to replace them in under a year.

        Given their level of experience, the over-50’s generally need less training. Quite the opposite. You may find that they contribute to you company further by acting as mentors to those just starting out. If you’re lucky enough, you may even find your older employees sharing their wealth of contacts, links and networks. Such information is invaluable, and can bring in lucrative business to propel your company forward.

        Whether employed within a company or not, this generations retirees are working unlogged hours and contributing to the economy every single day. They look after our children when we are at the office. They are carers for friends or relatives. Our over-50’s are often wildly over-over-qualified for the jobs they do but that doesn’t affect their loyalty, dedication and ‘can-do’ attitude. The UK faces a strange dichotomy; a generation of people who are willing and able to work, living in a society that, despite needing more workers, discriminates against them because of their age.


        When it comes to growing your team, skills and personality are the paramount considerations. As employers, it’s important that you learn to look beyond the entrenched preconceptions about age, and embrace the positive qualities a particular individual has to offer (have a read of our recent blog about how diversity grows your business).

        We must remember that whilst the way we conduct business may have changed, the fundamental principles of business practice remain the same. And by that logic, professionalism and success in the workplace are NOT age dependent.

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