Workers over 50 make up a third of the UK workforce, yet this age group faces ageism in the job market.

As we age, there is often a perception that we become less productive, less adaptable and less valuable to the workforce. However, the reality is that older workers bring a range of benefits that should not be overlooked. Unfortunately, age discrimination persists in the workplace.

Workers over 50 often experience employment barriers and limited opportunities for promotion. They are also more than twice as likely as other workers to be unemployed for two years or longer if they lose their current job.

Age Discrimination and the hiring process

Older job seekers can tweak their CV to appear ageless, but ultimately organisations should take a closer look at their recruitment process to ensure any implicit biases aren’t preventing brilliant candidates being hired – especially during the current candidate shortage.

Age discrimination and unconscious bias are still prevalent in many workplaces. The biases are triggered by our brain automatically making quick judgments in a small amount of time.  They are influenced by our background, personal experiences, societal stereotypes and cultural context. It is not just about gender, ethnicity or other visible characteristics – height, body weight, names, and many other things can also trigger unconscious bias.

Everybody has unconscious bias, but being aware that it exists and knowing how to overcome it can help hiring managers and organisations make recruitment decisions based on the candidate’s skills, competencies, and attitude.

A diverse workforce fosters innovation and increases productivity, so learn how to challenge your assumptions and hire the best talent possible.

3 advantages of older workers

  • They often have a wealth of experience, having worked in a range of roles and industries over the years. This experience can be invaluable. It can help to develop problem-solving, decision-making and leadership skills. It can improve the overall performance of a team or organisation.
  • They are often more reliable and committed than younger workers. A survey conducted by Nationwide reveals that once in work, workers over 50 were less likely to “job jump” than their younger colleagues. People are less likely to switch jobs often. They are more likely to stay with their employer for a longer time. This can help to create a stable and loyal workforce, which can be beneficial for both employers and employees.
  • They can act as mentors and role models for younger employees. They can share their knowledge and experience, providing guidance and support to less experienced colleagues. This can help to create a positive work environment, foster a sense of community and teamwork, and improve overall job satisfaction.

Maxine says:

“Here are my 6 older worker bias busters. Use these to challenge your biases and assumptions.

  1. Over qualified – think value for money
  2. Health concerns – don’t we all? Don’t judge before you know
  3. Caring responsibilities – again – don’t we all?  Flexible working is open to all – use it to its maximum advantage
  4. Slower to learn – our grey cells keep their elasticity until around 70 – maybe older people are just more methodical
  5. Stuck in their ways – do you have evidence of this?
  6. Won’t want to work with younger people – really?  They may be the stabilising force or even a mentor”

Wote Street People will find the best candidate for your company. We are impartial and will identify what qualities are needed for the role regardless of age, gender identity, sex, or race.

Give Maxine a call on 01256 236007 or email maxine@wotestreetpeople.co.uk to find out more.