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Hiring senior workers? Yes please!

Everyone is talking about the shortage of skilled workers, managers and owners are pulling their hair out because they can’t find employees, job advertisements are getting little or no response and yet we still hear this sentence in every second conversation!

It is a (pleasant) exception when an entrepreneur says that he or she would definitely hire employees older than 55.

However, not only popular wisdom, but also numerous studies attribute more reliability, experience and crisis resistance to older workers.

But what exactly are the prejudices of senior workers?

  • An older employee is sick more often.
  • He or she is no longer as efficient.
  • An older employee cannot handle modern work equipment.
  • A senior worker is expensive.

Let’s look at this in detail:

Illnesses? More days absent?

This question can be answered with both yes and no. It is interesting to note that the number of days absent at a time is lower among younger people, but they are sick more often.

At the age of 50+, family planning is usually complete, so there are no more days of absence due to children, and parental leave is also rather an exception. On average, all employees are sick about 14 days a year.

Lack of efficiency?

What kind of performance is meant here? I know of few jobs where Olympic records have to be set. But what do older workers bring to the table? They have significantly more experience and the composure to distinguish the important from the unimportant and, above all, the ability to put things in the right context. At a higher age, skills such as discipline, a sense of responsibility and loyalty are particularly pronounced.

It should be noted in particular, however, that older employees usually have a better network that they can use beneficially for the employer.

Senior workers can’t handle modern work equipment?

This is a prejudice that belongs in the drawer of the 90s. I have been in many areas of the labour market for many years and today I hardly find anyone who cannot use modern work tools. The depth to which he or she does so depends again on the experience of the individual, but has nothing to do with age.

An older employee is expensive?

At first glance, this may be true if there are provisions in collective agreements that take age into account when determining pay. However, one must not forget that senior workers are usually not as willing to change jobs and have longer staying power. They save the employer the fluctuation costs that a younger employee causes. If the latter is ambitious and, in search of better career opportunities, leaves the company again more quickly than the employer would like, turnover costs must be considered that can amount to up to 50% of the annual salary!

Furthermore, in certain cases wage subsidies can be applied for for older employees, which are paid over several months.

Demographic change and the labour market

Not hiring older workers is in stark contrast to current trends and facts on the labour market. We are getting older, fitter and healthier, and retiring later. At the same time, fewer young workers are joining the workforce.

Companies harm themselves when they exclude older workers from job applications. In fact, studies have shown that productivity tends to increase with age, and studies show that mixed-age teams make fewer mistakes than younger teams.

We can only recommend that you make use of the great potential of experienced employees. Every day in our management consultancy we experience how successful companies are that implement the healthy mix of older and younger employees in their companies. In this way, experience and dynamism are ideally combined.