Freedom 55 may be taking on a brand new meaning these days—benefiting employers. According to the Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey, employment grew quicker among people aged 55 and up than any other age group. The increase was mostly in full-time work, and it serves as a sign that Canada’s population is getting older.
So, as more people of working age are entering the 55+ cohort, here’s why you should consider hiring one of them.
You increase overall skills and experience levels
Hiring someone from this demographic (rather than a younger employee) could mean more freedom for employers and upper-level managers. That’s because people who are 55 and older have accumulated a wealth of experience over time, honing their management skills and understanding of business.
As outlined in a report on age-friendly workplaces by Employment and Social Development Canada, there are multiple benefits of recruiting someone who is older, despite the misconceptions that exist around this group. For one, they have communication skills and emotional intelligence that younger employees may not have developed yet, simply because the younger employees haven’t been in the workforce as long. They also haven’t had to assume supervisory roles or deal with challenging workplace situations.
Older employees are therefore better equipped to tackle a range of responsibilities, from technical to personal. They can also have better problem-solving and interpersonal skills, as they’ve had the time to develop them.
You can reduce turnover
Workers who are 55-plus also tend to be more loyal, staying in their jobs longer. According to a report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, older workers stay in the same workplace for 10 years or more compared to people in their 40s. In general, the length of time an employee stays with an employer increases with the employee’s age. This translates to lower turnover costs, but the experience these employees have also means they have a solid understanding of how business works.
At the same time as this worker cohort is growing faster, keeping step with the overall population aging, they stay in the labour force longer than they ever did, with 38 per cent of people in the 55-plus age group active in the workforce. One important reason for this is that
workforce participation rates are higher for highly educated individuals, and between 1996 and 2016, the share of people 55 and older with a university degree went from 9 per cent to 20 per cent.
It can help with engagement and recruiting
Older employees can serve as good mentors for younger employees, particularly when it comes to management and training issues (your younger employees can then return the favour with help on the tech side). And per the Center on Aging and Work, at Boston College, older employees have stronger professional networks that they’ve built up over the years, which can add valuable contacts for any company that decides to hire them.
So, while everyone is talking about Millennials and Generation Z, maybe it’s time you consider an older candidate? Sure, they might demand a higher salary, but what you get in terms of knowledge, experience and emotional intelligence might actually be better for your bottom line.