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Are you missing a trick with recruitment?
A recent survey taken by the Recruitment and Employment Federation (REC) suggests that recruiters should ‘improve their hiring strategy to consider the most talented in the over 55s age group’. Employment Minister Esther McVey has said that ‘With 50 being the new 30 there are more and more older workers wanting to make the most of their skills and experience in a new career.’
If you completed a review of your workforce, just how many of your employees would fall into the category of 55 and over?
Consider what you could be missing…
This figure may be lower than you think as ageism in the workplace is still very much accepted. Are we really considering just what we could be missing when we are recruiting our teams, and the benefits that, dare I say, an older employee can bring to our sector?
It is so important to have the right people in the right jobs when a service is being provided; this means that individuals who are used to ‘front facing’ positions and dealing with difficult situations with sympathy and tact are crucial. Older workers tend to have the experience to handle such situations. When it comes to retention, those aged 50 to 64 have an average job tenure of 13 years, compared with seven years for those aged 25 to 49.
It’s reported that there are skills shortages in our workplaces, so are we really missing a trick with our recruitment? If you haven’t thought about it, these points may make a difference to your recruitment and retention:
- When preparing your advert consider the tone – terms like ‘bright’ and ‘energetic’ could be discouraging for older potential candidates.#
- Adjust the way that you advertise, don’t always jump to the internet.
- Provide training for employees to develop new skills, or to build on the skills they already have.
- Offer part time vacancies and flexibility. Lifestyle and a work/life balance could be a deal breaker when it comes to employment.
- Treat such workers with appropriate respect. It can be embarrassing and uncomfortable for an older worker to do work that is basic, relative to responsible tasks they have handled in the past. Yet the National Trust engages older workers, often ex-professionals, by the thousand – and doesn’t even pay them. So with care and tact it can be done!
There is no substitute for the experience and life skills of older workers. They can assist in supporting and developing younger colleagues, so we all may need to be more broad-minded and embrace older employees. It’s inevitable - just like death and taxes - that we will all be older one day (at least if the former doesn’t get us first!).
Anita Manfredi of Employer Solutions – QCS HR Expert Contributor