Age Like Fine Wine: Why You Should Hire Older Workers Above 40

As we are all aware, the coronavirus pandemic is causing unemployment rates to soar dramatically. At this time when tech savviness and creativity are highly valued, the population being affected most are, not so surprisingly, older workers age 55 or above.

Nowadays in the workforce, we seem to evaluate people based on their age even more so than a person’s race or gender. In a research conducted by Harvard Business Review, over two-thirds of companies around the world consider aging of their workforce a competitive disadvantage. They’re less likely to be digitally adept; they’re not as creative and aware of current trends; and to startup firms especially, older people just seem like a killjoy to the ‘fun and casual’ work culture.

Everyone Deserves a Chance

There’s a lot of talk about giving Gen Z and Millennials a chance to prove their worth, which as a Millennial myself, find very important for many reasons. But perhaps we should give our middle-aged workers the same kind of leniency when it comes to hiring too. Despite the huge shift in labour standards and expectations, many experienced professionals are still thriving in the job force alongside their younger peers. As a matter of fact, several famous celebrities and entrepreneurs achieved their peak at a later stage of their career.

Betty White, for example, who has won the hearts of multiple generations with her witty comedic acting, received mainstream attention only after she appeared on ‘The Mary Tyler Moore’ show at the age of 51. Steve Carell, well known for his role as Michael Scott in ‘The Office’, got his big break when he was 43 with the 2005 comedy ‘The 40-Year-Old Virgin’. Warren Buffet, at the age of 89 now, is still actively engaged in the business world and is an inspiration to people of all ages.

Age Like Fine Wine

It is unfair to underestimate the enthusiasm and competence of older people just because she’s a mother of two or a semi-retired worker. Like fine wine, age also brings notes of experience, wisdom, and confidence. In another study, more than 80% of U.S. employers believe workers aged 50 or above are “a valuable resource for training and mentoring” and “an important source of institutional knowledge.” As an employer, here’s what you could do:

  • Assign mature professionals to roles that require certain expertise and experience
  • Recruit older workers as coaches or mentors to provide young talents the proper training and life knowledge on learning
  • Bring age diversity into your workplace using pre-employment tools to remove bias out of your hiring process

Staying competitive in our ever-changing workforce demands a well-balanced pool of talents in regards to race, gender, and age. To achieve business longevity, the first step is to create an inclusive and meaningful environment where employees of any background can thrive and learn from one another.