When I was in my twenties, I thought that anyone older than 30 was a has-been, ancient! When I was in my thirties, I thought the my colleagues in their forties were ok, but the guys in their fifties were just clogging up the system. Time for them to be out on the golf-course giving us young Turks our chance at promotion. When I was in my forties, I never really thought about older or younger colleagues as being anything other than just that, colleagues, all of us, and them, on one team, some working harder than others, but all valuable assets in our company, all adding to the depth of experience and energy that makes for a good all round resourceful business.
Now that I am in my fifties, I realise that I am that guy! I may be the go-to-guy for advice, but I definitely am the run-from guy when I am seeking help, or God forbid, work! (In the interests of full disclosure I do work in Galway at iCanWork4U.com and write the blogs for http://www.icanwork4u.com and for http://www.mayors4jobs.com but I don’t really call that work, more like a labour of self-interest..oh, ok a labour of love).
Did I do anything wrong? No, I just got older, or at least faster than I ever thought possible, than I ever imagined …not in my worst nightmare could I have imagined being thrown onto the scrap-heap because of my age, but there you have it. I have arrived! And by all accounts I am not alone.
The much touted Ireland that the IDA loved to market was one where 50% of the population was under 25, well educated, articulate and industrious. But that has all changed. That was twenty years ago. Today, those well-educated guys and girls in their twenties are the new 45-55 year-olds. They are also the early retired, or the newly unemployed. They are the keepers of the corporate knowledge and the mentors because of their experience. They are also the entrepreneurs and the risk-takers, though not always successful. they are your friends and your neighbors, and they should not be ignored just because they are in their third or fourth decade of work.
In many societies, age is honourable and experience is revered. Not so it would seem in Ireland where the largest and most intransigent percentage of those seeking unemployment assistance is the over 50’s. Why? Well we don’t emigrate much and we were the business owners and labourers of the boom, who lost our businesses and jobs, or were down-sized first in the Celtic Tiger ‘Bust’.
Statistically, the population of Ireland is living longer and healthier. The average age of an Irish Person in Census 2011 was 35.1 years old, as opposed to 33, just 15 years previously. In ten more years the average age will be 37, or more. The percentage of the population over 50 years old is set to rise from 21% in 2011, to 32% over the next 20 years. The over 50’s now represent the fastest growing sector of Ireland’s population, despite the baby boom of the past 3 years, statistically, there will be more people over 65 years old in ten years time than there will be people under 20 years old.
That statistic is changing one more demographic, the dependency ratio. Right now our dependency ratio is 47% approximately. This means that there are two people working for every one dependent person (Under 18 and over 65 years of age). In the coming ten years that will shrink to reflect the European average of 1.8 working people to support every single dependent person.
So, Employers, why should you hire an older person? Here’s my top ten reasons to hire someone older than yourself to fill your next vacancy.
10. Older employees have more experience, are more responsible, need less training and are less likely to ‘drop the ball’ on a client, a sale, a complaint or a project.
9. Older folks go out less and suffer fewer Monday ‘hangovers’, Tuesday ‘pulled my hamstring at training excuses’, Wednesday ‘have to bring the kids to Lapland trips’ or Thursday ‘got lucky last night’ brags, than the younger set.
8. Older employees don’t do pregnancy.
7. Experienced workers get the job done faster, take fewer breaks and usually take more pride in their work. They also do it for less pay and fewer benefits than younger employees, as many have paid-up mortgages, car-loans, pensions and health insurance.
6. Just because they are older doesn’t mean they are dull. The best office stories and jokes are told by older employees. They also love a laugh, especially one to share back at the active-semi-retired club.
5. Because they own a car already the older employee is more likely to be on time and possibly offer other younger, car-less employees lifts to and from work, thus improving overall productivity.
4. They have done it all, raised kids, bought houses, holidayed in Florida, so your older employee is more satisfied, less restless and much better at budgeting than the younger ones.
3. As an employer, it’s ok to ask an older employee ‘what would you do if you were in my shoes’? They give better experience-based advice and don’t tell their skittery younger colleagues the stoopid question you asked, on their Facebook pages
2. Older employees have less responsibilities and commitments at home and so can work earlier or later, flexi- or part-time, longer or unsocial hours.
And, the ‘Number One’ reason to hire an older person as your next employee
1. Getting an ‘aatta boy’ look from your dad and mum for hiring one of their mates!
But seriously folks, the stats are out. Ireland needs to keep it’s older population at work longer (not to mention that the retirement age is now 67), so that the PRSI contributions continue to come in to the exchequer for longer, given that more and more people, and most of them without private pensions, will continue to depend on the finite public purse for their Social Welfare Pension in the future. Working later into life is healthier, more productive and less likely to lead to depression or dementia.
Taking on an older employee is just the right thing to do and it bucks the urban myth that ageism is rife. The older candidates reading you job advertisement think it’s all about ageism. It’s not, it’s about doing what is best for your business. Don’t filter the Resumes and CV’s for your next job by chucking out the over-50’s. Take a chance next time and open your mind to the myriad advantages and plusses an older worker can bring to your office.
There are plenty of older, and younger potential employees registered onhttp://www.icanwork4u.com – take a look at iCanWork4U.com today and think ‘experience’, think ‘can-do-attitude’, think ‘good-fit-for-my-business’. Hey, you never know, today may be the day you find the right person for that job and it may just be an older person too.