Millions of seniors are being driven back into the job market – and that’s not a bad thing. For both businesses and seniors alike, there are a huge array of benefits to having older adults on staff. Although cultural ageism can make the advantages of hiring seniors difficult to see, hiring older adults can prove to be one of the best business decisions anyone can make. Below you can learn about the benefits of hiring older workers, what seniors can gain from continuing to work through their golden years, and why more seniors than ever before are returning to the job market.
The Benefits of Older Workers
While it’s a fictional example of an older person working alongside younger people, Robert DeNiro in The Intern shines a light on the positives that seniors can bring to a workplace.
Compared to their younger counterparts, senior workers have decades of experience honing their skills in the workforce. That experience can be an invaluable asset to just about any employer. But many of the benefits seniors offer have little to do with experience, and a great deal to do with their outlook on life.
One of the most common complaints employers have is that their employees miss too many work days or show up late. Seniors tend to have better workplace attendance, as well as a tendency to miss fewer days than their younger counterparts for non-health reasons. They’re also less likely to switch jobs than younger adults, which results in less time spent training and retraining new employees. More importantly, young adults stand to benefit from working alongside seniors, who can learn not just from their experience, but from their example as role models with excellent motivation and loyalty.
Seniors also tend to be more dedicated to their work than young adults. That type of dedication makes them more detail-oriented, which allows them to catch the small mistakes and errors that a less attentive employee would miss. Whether it’s misspelling a client’s name, minor pricing errors, or even serious mistakes, seniors are more likely to be the ones to catch the problem early. One study by the AARP even found that employers tend to rate their older employees as having a better work ethic.
Benefits for Seniors
Surprisingly, seniors have as much to gain from employment as their employers. Many choose to work for opportunities to interact socially, or to feel as though they’re contributing to society in a productive way. These interactions can actually help sustain a senior’s health, as many people are at risk for feelings of depression and isolation during the later parts of their lives. One study from the University of Pittsburgh found that seniors who spent time volunteering reported substantial improvements in their mental health, self-esteem, and overall sense of wellbeing.
Why Are Seniors Working?
Today, there are more seniors in the workforce than there have been at any time during the previous five decades. Nearly one fifth of the American workforces — roughly 7.7 million individuals — are over the age of 65. Over the next 15 years, the CDC estimates that the number of seniors in the workforce age 65 and older will increase to a massive 72 million people. But why are so many seniors returning to the workforce, or continuing to work through retirement age?
Part of the answer can be found in the financial concerns facing many older adults after the market crash of 2008. Many older adults who haven’t adequately saved for their retirement, or who lost investments in the recession, are being driven back into the workforce out of sheer necessity. But just as many continue to work because they want to remain active in their communities, they enjoy facing new challenges, or simply to stay active.
In fact, according to a survey by the Sloan Center on Aging, only about half of senior workers continue to work for financial reasons. The other half continue to work because they believe they would feel bored not working, they want to feel productive, they want to interact with people, they need health insurance, or they want to learn new things.
Resources for Seniors
Seniors who are looking to get back into the workforce have a number of valuable resources and job placement tools available to them. The AARP has a specific portion of their website devoted to resources to help job-seekers over 50. There are also websites like JobsOver50, which are dedicated specifically to helping find jobs for retirees and other older individuals by helping them forge connections with former alumni.
Whether they’re looking to get back into the labor force or just stay involved, it should be clear that employers have much to gain by taking advantage of the trend towards senior employment. After all, the next senior they hire may prove to be one of the most reliable, driven, and experienced employees on the job market.