Older workers are undervalued

Posted by Olderiswiser Editorial

Do you feel undervalued in the workplace? Here are some tips to highlight why you are an asset to the business.

older workers not valued by employers

There are more job vacancies than emerging millennials to fill them, but older workers are still not being highly valued as an integral part of the workforce, according to MD of Micklewright Careers, James Micklewright.

The Department of Work and Pensions state that there are 13.5 million job vacancies to be filled in the next ten years, but only seven million young people will leave school and college in that time. Taking this into account, it is self-evident that the older workforce is needed, but Micklewright argues employers are still blindly not recognising the value of the over 50s.

“Older employees are still being pressured to step off the career ladder to make way for younger blood, ignoring years of commercial and personal experience which brings real value to a business.  Clients often find it harder to find roles because of a misconception they are out of touch, don’t have the stamina, flexibility and particularly IT skills needed in the modern workplace. They are often perceived as being over-qualified or expensive too. This is a total misconception and candidates should be judged on performance not age. It’s time for change as business needs older workers.”

Statistics from the Department of Work and Pensions show that already over 50s form 27 per cent of the current workforce. By 2020 it will be a third.  50 per cent of workers over the age of 55 are looking to work beyond the state pension age.

“The over 50s into their late 70s need to work on a personal level because they are living longer and if they are not allowed to work there will be serious financial implications nationally.

“Employers need to understand the advantages and make the most of a multi-generational workforce by actively embracing it and maximising the skills and productive contribution of all their workers.  McDonalds for example reported that they see a 20% higher performance in their outlets with a multi-generational work force*.”

3 things businesses should be doing to support an ageing workforce

  1. Set up training days where employees of all ages and experience can share their skills with each other. Identify where the training holes are and fill them.
  2. A multigenerational team tends to be a productive team.  Mix things up wherever possible and utilise skills regardless of age.
  3. Fight prejudices that older workers are tired, expensive, lacking technology skills and inflexible.  Leaders should set good company protocol and lead by example.

3 things an older employee can do to help themselves be valuable at work

  1. Stay up to date by networking.  Older employees will have years of contacts - maintain your existing relationships and create new ones.  You have a real advantage here.
  2. Take control of your own career goals. Regardless of your age don’t stay in an unhappy job.  Alternatively ask for training opportunities and try and add new strings to your bow.
  3. Emphasise your loyalty – Older workers tend to stay in a job for much longer than their younger counterparts. Highlight that you appreciate the opportunity to be trained in something new and point out that you will be there long enough for that training to be useful to the company.


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