With life expectancy rates higher than ever before, it isn’t hard to understand why more older individuals are wanting to stay in the workforce for longer periods. However, there are some hurdles to working longer, namely, the increased presence of ageism.
As more workers experience ageism, mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing is becoming compromised. This is of course harmful for the affected individual but it’s worth noting that ageism also affects the overall company.
By closing the door on a key segment of workers, businesses miss out on a host of benefits and can also experience consequences. Highlighting why today it’s more important than ever before to put a stop to ageism in the workplace.
The Australian Seniors Series: Ageing in the Workforce 2021, found that 9 in 10 people surveyed believed that ageism is prevalent in the workplace, with 1 in 5 actually experiencing age discrimination. With this in mind, it’s important to understand exactly what ageism is.
Ageism is a type of discrimination that occurs when people are unfairly treated or targeted due to their age. It’s important to note that ageism can be experienced by people young and old and can be committed both unconsciously and consciously.
Instances of ageism can encompass actions like perpetuating common stereotypes, thinking about someone in a prejudicial way or treating them differently because of their age or generation.
How Ageism Affects Individuals
As ageism is a form of discrimination, it can affect everything from physical and mental health to emotional wellbeing. Additionally, if an older person were forced to leave a job due to age discrimination, it may also have financial implications for them.
These consequences show just how damaging age discrimination can be to a person’s psyche. It’s also particularly harrowing when you consider that over 2 in 5 people reported to the Australian Seniors survey that they have felt patronized at work because of their age.
How Ageism Affects Companies
While ageism can be particularly damaging to the targeted individual, the broader company also experiences consequences. For example, older workers are highly experienced individuals and by committing ageism, a company unnecessarily loses this experience.
Additionally, if, in the hiring process, a business demonstrates ageist practices, they are unnecessarily limiting their talent pool. With a limited candidate pool, it becomes that much harder to find the right talent for the business.
Instances of ageism are also known to have an impact on staff. If other staff members are to witness acts of ageism, it can severely deplete morale which in turn can result in decreased productivity levels.
4 Reasons Why Companies Should Hire Older People
Contrary to common stereotypes, older individuals are extremely efficient and effective employees. With a wealth of business and industry experience, older workers are key assets to businesses trying to navigate today’s working landscape.
1. Loyalty and Stability
One reason why businesses should break the age discrimination cycle and hire older workers is due to their inherent loyalty and stability. These traits stem from the fact that older workers are more settled in their career and don’t necessarily want to be moving from job to job.
This loyalty breeds stability. An asset that cannot be overestimated in today’s business landscape. A stable employee saves a business from having to spend valuable time and money on hiring and training new employees.
2. Enhanced Decision-Making Skills
Knowledge and expertise, some of the main predictors of job performance, are known to keep increasing beyond the age of 80. This means that older workers are well-positioned to use their experience and knowledge to problem solve in a timely fashion.
This means that older workers can truly hit the ground running in order to deliver results. With a wealth of experience in the business world, these workers have been able to hone their critical thinking.
3. Leadership Capability
Older workers make great leaders and mentors. Years in a business environment have helped them gain communication skills. These communication skills also translate into sharp people skills.
This means that older workers know how to get the best out of fellow workers and clients. It’s also important to note that as shrewd business people, older workers also make great mentors.
4. Well Rounded Network
Thanks to years in the business world, older workers have developed a network of previous employers, clients, and workers. Such a vast network can come in handy when it comes time to look for new hires, or when needing a favor for a client.
Interrupt the Cycle of Ageism and Reap the Rewards
Every company likes to believe that they are socially and environmentally responsible. However, in-house these ideals sometimes aren’t held in such high regard. This allows for things like ageism to be perpetuated both consciously and unconsciously.
However, these little microaggressions can be doing more harm than one might think. By simply reversing misconceptions and saying goodbye to stereotypes, businesses can access highly trained and highly skilled employees that will only serve to benefit the organization.