While economies across the globe have historically sought to create young and energetic workforces, some governments and businesses are beginning to recognize the importance of older employees.
Certainly, the summer of 2016 saw the unemployment rate amongst over-50s fall to its lowest level in 10 years, with more than 9.4 million people aged between 50 and 74 economically active in the UK prior to the coronavirus outbreak.
Of course, the rise in mature employees is also being exacerbated by other factors, such as the dwindling state pension fund and the rising retirement age.
However, there’s no doubt that the changing perception of mature job seekers is driving this trend, with this demographic capable of bringing several unique benefits to the workplace. For example:
- They’re Uniquely Experienced: Let’s start with the basics; as older employees are uniquely experienced and have often spent years working in a particular industry. This can prove invaluable in some markets, particularly for smaller and fledgling businesses that are looking to grow quickly and optimise the value of their staff members. Similarly, there’s a significantly lower rate of staff turnover amongst older employees, with this providing a cost-saving that offsets potentially higher salaries and pension payments.
- They Have a Broader Range of Transferable Skills: While the job market may have evolved markedly during the digital age, employers remain reliant on a number of key transferable skills, including problem-solving, analytical thinking, and communication. Make no mistake; older workers tend to boast a broader transferable skillset than their younger contemporaries, thanks to their experience of different working environments and developing rapport with others.
- They Contribute to a Balanced Workforce: Experience also brings different ideas and mindsets to your business, especially in terms of how tasks are undertaken and the underlying approach to work. In this respect, combining mature employees with younger workers can create a more balanced workforce and one that’s highly focused on collaboration and constant improvement over time. To this end, older employers can also mentor their younger colleagues, creating a more efficient and valuable workforce in the process.
What to Keep in Mind When Hiring Older Job-Seekers
Now that we’ve convinced you of the merits of older job-seekers, the next step is to ensure that your business is equipped to hire more mature workers. Here are some key steps to keep in mind:
1. Develop Age-related Work Policies
Age discrimination is a significant issue in the workplace and one that can actually affect employees of any age.
However, it’s particularly pertinent in the case of older workers, so it’s imperative that you develop age-related work policies that ensure equal opportunities for employees and guarantee the fair treatment of individuals aged 50 and over.
It’s also worth reviewing your existing terms of employment so that you can create a viable and inviting workplace for everyone.
2. Equip Your Staff With the Right Equipment
Depending on the nature of your business, you’ll need to ensure that every single staff member has access to the right clothing and safety equipment to undertake their daily tasks.
This is particularly true for older employees, who in some cases, maybe more likely to have physical impairments or challenges that need to be accounted for.
So, be sure to understand the needs of older employees within your workforce, ensuring that they have the correct footwear and are protected by relevant health and safety measures.
3. Understand the Rules on Retirement
As the age of retirement continues to rise, a growing number of employees who are 68 or over are remaining in the workforce each and every year.
Interestingly, the default retirement age in the UK was phased out as long ago as 2011, so you’re no longer bound to ensure that an employee has left your business by the time they reach a predetermined age.
However, you will need to understand the fundamental rules on retirement and the national retirement age, especially as it continues to change over time.
Similarly, you’ll need to understand the required pension contributions when hiring older employees, to ensure that their future is safeguarded in line with national law.