Today, baby boomers are retiring at a faster rate than they can be replaced. As a result, job vacancies have outnumbered job applicants for the last two years. And by 2025, experts are predicting less than 25 percent of workers in the country will be over the age of 55.
Businesses are struggling to find entry-level workers, let alone the skilled workers that are retiring in droves. And yet, one of the most insidious forms of bias, age discrimination, continues even though older workers could be part of the solution for the labor shortage issue.
Too many employers still view seasoned workers as a liability or a competitive disadvantage, and data from AARP indicates that two out of three workers between ages 45 and 74 say they have seen or experienced age discrimination on the job. Also, job seekers over the age of 35 list it as their primary obstacle to getting hired.
The issue of worker shortages is here to stay
Businesses are facing a dilemma that won’t go away anytime soon: young people have fewer children, so the birth rates in most industrialized countries—the United States included—have fallen to around 1.8 children, which is substantially below replacement. That means that the economies of these countries will grow only through increased productivity or immigration.
Since productivity is stagnating and immigration has become a contentious political issue, it’s time to look at an obvious solution.
Hiring seasoned workers makes more sense than you think
Countless dollars are spent trying to make Americans believe that their “golden years” should be filled with golf, travel, and relaxation. But the truth is that many retirees suffer from depression, heart disease, and a general feeling of dissatisfaction with their lives when they no longer work.
Most career systems are set up against hiring seasoned workers. Many businesses still hold to the myth that older workers are overpaid and can easily be replaced with younger workers. But this attitude flies in the face of research that tells a different story.
While “raw mental horsepower” declines after the age of 30, knowledge and expertise keep growing, even for those 80 and older. There is also plenty of evidence to believe that attributes such as motivation and curiosity can be an incentive for older adults to acquire new skills. And seasoned workers who are intellectually engaged will make substantial contributions to any organization.
Boosting cognitive diversity could benefit your company
Adding value and competency from older employees is not the only advantage of hiring them. There is also the issue of so-called cognitive diversity. Most of our advancements have come from coordinated human activity or people who were working together as a single unit. Companies can maximize employee output by ensuring cognitive diversity, and that is more likely to happen when people of all ages and experiences work together as a cohesive group.
Do you want to build a more reliable team that includes seasoned workers?
Give us a call! The Resource has been helping employers find people for over 40 years, and our expert staff is ready to assist you in finding the right fit for your organization.