Press-Republican

Columns

May 7, 2014

Don't be afraid to hire experience

Can it be in this day of liberal everything, that older workers are being ignored for younger workers?

When I say “older,” I am talking about men, and women, especially, in their mid-40s, prime of life. I don’t consider that age to be “old.”

I know these times are difficult for 20-somethings to break into a career, even with a college education; but two recent conversations I had with people in their 40s clued me in to the fact there is a certain stigma about work performance when you reach “middle age.”

Each one said they had at least 25 years of experience, one in food service, the other in retail, and had applied for several positions locally, never to hear from them again; or, to be told, they didn’t have any openings right at that moment.

Each one visited some of these establishments within the next two weeks, only to see new faces in their late teens and early 20s working for the companies. They wondered how that could be when they were told there were no openings. Could it be because younger workers would accept part-time work hours, minimum wage and no benefits?

Do employers know what they are missing when they turn away someone with 25 years experience? Mainly, that people in their 40s are more apt to be on time, all the time, not call in sick because they have been out partying the night before, and know what they are doing.

I googled “older workers” and came up with an interesting AARP article that reported a 2009 study done by Sloan Center on Aging. The report said that managers resist hiring “older” workers, 50-plus, because they think they are burned out. At 50, I was just getting my second breath.

They also thought they were less creative, less productive, slower mentally and more expensive to employ. Thankfully, a management professor at Wharton School of Business researched these accusations and found out they are not true.

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