4 Misconceptions About Older Workers


Older Workers

For employers, hiring skilled workers with a good general knowledge of their particular practice is essential to a successful company. However, according to the Government of Canada, there’s one change predicted to occur within the foreseeable future that could have major impacts on the labour force. Employers can expect that many of their potential employees will be older than before. This suggests they may need to make a few necessary changes to recruitment strategies.

Canada’s population is aging quickly as the “baby boomer” generation grows older and birth rates decline. With so many older job candidates, it may become challenging to find a suitable workforce for companies that aren’t actively changing their recruiting strategies to target and reengage older employees.

The first step to becoming more open-minded to hiring an aging labour force is dispelling the common misconceptions that many businesses tend to have about older workers. Employers should take note of these four myths.

1. Older workers will retire soon after being hired
The Government of Canada explained that in 2011 1 in every 7 Canadians were at least 65 years old and that by 2036, this may increase by 25 per cent, based off of findings by Statistics Canada. These figures suggest that for many employers, the candidate pool for potential employees is going to eventually consist heavily of older adults.

Companies shouldn’t hesitate to hire a senior due to fear that he or she will retire soon after employment. In fact, the news source also noted that many seniors have started to feel that traditional retirement is no longer as appealing as it once was. Many are choosing to continue working after the average retirement age. Statistics Canada and the Government of Canada also found that more than 50 per cent of participants who had never retired (78 per cent of the sample group) in a survey of older employees between the ages of 50 and 75 intended on continuing employment on a part-time basis once they retired.

2. Employers will see a decline in production 
The experience and skills that older employees can bring to the table are extremely valuable. In most office environments where physical activity isn’t a major aspect of the job, their intellectual capacity will more than make up for any declining physical abilities.

The Government of Canada also noted that there has been research that shows that employees begin to enjoy the advantages of accumulated work experience after performing the same tasks for an extended period of time, which ultimately benefits their employers.

3. Older adults are harder to train
The most recent statistics focusing on training older workers in Canada is a 2008 study by Statistics Canada. It found that the majority of baby boomers want to be employed by a company that challenges them. Employees from this generation also reported that focusing on gaining new skills and enhancing old ones without putting too much emphasis on obstacles is most important to them in a new job.

The research also showed that the participation rate of workers between the ages of 55 and 64 in employee training was twice as high in 2008 compared to 1991. Older workers are less likely to switch jobs, meaning that the company will see a high return on investment in terms of the money put toward training as well.

4. Companies see higher risks of discrimination claims
It’s common for employers to avoid hiring older workers because they fear that their companies will be more vulnerable to age discrimination claims. However, Skills Connect Inc. pointed out that in 2012 less than 1 per cent of workers filed a work complaint for age discrimination.

If businesses have an action plan that covers all potential issues with older employees, there will be less to worry about in terms of dealing with legal claims. These should be in place for all employees, regardless of age.

Source: Sunrise Senior Living



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