I read something really encouraging today. It gave me hope. Unless you’re over 50 you probably wouldn’t understand. Here it is: Contrary to the old stereotype, older job hunters aren’t necessarily being passed over for the younger, less-experienced worker.
A story by Fortune cited employment numbers crunched by the Chicago outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas which found “of the 4,319,000 jobs created in the U.S. over the past two-and-a-half years, about 70% (2,998,000 jobs) went to people aged 55 or older.”
Older workers make immediate contributions
As the economy is slowly recovering, CEO John Challenger said on his company’s blog that employers tell him that they’re only adding workers when absolutely necessary. And Challenger goes on to say:
In this environment, a seasoned candidate who brings a wide variety of skills and experience to the table is going to have an advantage over younger candidates. For employers, one experienced candidate is worth two or three younger, greener candidates, in terms of the ability to make immediate and meaningful contributions to output and the bottom line.
Experienced workers have plenty of options
The Challenger survey also found that a majority of the companies value these older workers and they’re “offering customized schedules, education on retirement and health care, and the ability to work from home.” Still, Challenger says it’s becoming tougher for these companies to keep the older workers because they’re armed with options. Again, John Challenger:
They can go to competitors, they can switch industries and some are even changing careers. Others may start their own consulting firms or spend their time volunteering for non-profit groups. Companies that want their older workers to stay will have to ask and ask early.
Obviously not every company values the experience of the older worker, and goes for the younger, cheaper alternative. In the short-term that type of hiring myopia may save money, but in the long run, it could prove to be costly. Let’s hope you work for a company that values the mature worker. Not over 50? You’ll be there someday.