The Benefits of an Older Workforce
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that roughly 40 percent of the population 55 years old and older were working or actively looking for work in 2014.
That percentage – particularly for the oldest population segments, ages 65 to 74 and ages 75 and up – is only expected to rise through 2024. The government agency projects the labor force to grow to 164 million workers by 2024, with 41 million workers ages 55 and older and 13 million workers ages 65 and older.
However, before you start making wiseacre remarks about dedicating a vending-machine slot to Metamucil and stocking the supply closet with tennis balls for the tips of canes and walkers, be aware that there could be some significant benefits to hiring older employees.
Those born between 1946 and 1964, the oldest of the baby boomer generation, reached age 65 in 2011 and the youngest will hit that same milestone in 2029. Baby boomers are described using several broad characteristics including being work-centric, independent, competitive and goal-oriented. Not too shabby a list when it comes to ideals in a potential employee.
Entrepreneur.com hosted an article by business consultant Stephen Bastien that identified several reasons why the general generational traits of baby boomers can help maintain a reliable workforce.
- Dedicated workers produce quality work, which can result in a significant cost savings for a business.
- Punctuality seems to be a trait of older workers, who look forward to going to work each day.
- Honesty is common among older workers, whose values as a group include personal integrity and a devotion to the truth.
- The work ethic of detail-oriented and attentive workers can rub off on other employees.
- Good listeners are easier to train and typically only have to be told what to do once.
- Pride in a job well done means devoting the time needed to see a project through to completion properly.
- Strong organizational skills cut down on hours lost to workplace disorganization.
- Confidence to share recommendations and ideas can result in a more efficient workplace.
- Years of life and work experience allow older workers to maintain calm when unexpected problems arise.
- Older workers make good mentors and role models.
- Older workers understand workplace politics and know how to diplomatically convey their ideas.
With age comes experience, and there’s a lot of be said about a worker who brings a wealth of experience and knowledge.