Are Employers Asking the Right Question?

As a child, I often drove my parents crazy with one word, “Why?” I needed an explanation rather than just a statement of fact. As an adult, not that much has changed. I still want to know the reason behind things, and I have found there are many other “why” people in this world.
During National Employ Older Workers Week, one question is at the forefront of my mind. Why should employers hire older workers? Luckily, it is much easier to answer this question than it is to explain to a child why the sky is blue.
Why should employers hire older workers? There are many reasons. Here are just a few of them.

  • Older workers are the fastest growing population in the labor market. By 2024, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts individuals aged 55 and older will account for a quarter of the workforce.
  • Older Workers can add diversity to the workforce. This enhances a company’s ability to improve employee morale, gather feedback on existing services and products, and reach an expanded customer base.
  • Older Workers bring years of personal and professional experience into the workplace. This adds depth to the company’s workforce. It also adds depth to the customer service experience offered to customers by adding a different perspective to customer interactions and sales.
  • Older workers are often looking for part time work. This aligns well with the needs of many retailers, food service providers, and hotels, allowing employers to fill staffing needs.
  • Training programs such as the Senior Community Service Employment Program offer paid training, on-the-job experiences, and technology training to older workers, better preparing them to enter the workforce. This allows employers to hire well-trained individuals who can immediately contribute to the company.

Older workers are a valuable part of today’s workforce. The benefits to hiring these individuals exceed the points listed above. Older workers provide an invaluable perspective on products, sales, and marketing to an employer’s consumer base. Just as a quarter of the workforce will be individuals aged 55 and over, at least a quarter, if not far more, of the consumer base for those same companies will be aged 55 and older. What better way to gain perspective on that consumer base than to engage those individuals in the day to day operations of a company?
Perhaps the question we should be asking ourselves during National Employ Older Workers Week is not “Why,” but “Why not?”