How Recruiters Can Support Older Job Seekers and Workers

Last year, the unemployment rate dropped 0.3% from 4.6% in February – April to 4.3% in the three months leading to July 2017.

Although most of these efforts are directed at younger age groups in their 20s and 30s, the older generation find it increasingly difficult to land their dream jobs. Employers can work to focus their activities towards attracting more older employees aged 50 – 60 years.

Last May, a group of New England employers and business leaders attended an event tiled; Gray is the New Green; Unleashing the Power of Older Workers and Volunteers. The initiative was aimed at drawing more awareness to older working-class job seekers and how employers can be more supportive about their employment.

The following are useful tips in hiring older age groups in your company:

  1. Advertise vacancies in newspapers as well as online

While there is a growing number of digital migrants (older people who are becoming more tech savvy), a good number of the mature population still enjoy reading print material, like magazines and newspapers.

When you upload job vacancies online, don’t fail to include them in traditional print channels. Studies show that a good number of job responses still come from newspaper adverts. Also, make room for accepting hard copy applications for those who may not be comfortable applying on the internet.

  1. Use images and videos of older people in recruitment and other marketing collateral

It is common to display pictures of your people in job vacancy ads. This is mainly because the first thing that comes to mind when people hear job search is a younger person. Not many imagine the older population, yet a significant number are highly qualified and seeking jobs too.

Using images of older people in your material encourages them to apply for the position. It also promotes equal opportunity employment, inclusion and other positive social ideals. Essentially, an equal mix of both representations in your ad is important.

  1. Use the group-review model to curb ageism

In HR departments mainly staffed by younger workers, the result can be an unnecessary age bias- inadvertent or otherwise. Forward-thinking companies use teams of four to eight people for its hiring process. There is a diversity in age, race and sex. This way, not one person’s perspective is a single determinant for opportunities. Even if there is bias, it is greatly minimised.

  1. Mentoring programs are beneficial to the company

When older workers mentor younger employees, it builds them and impacts the company positively. Many senior employees are highly-experienced, and this can be advantageous if properly honed.

Experience is valuable thing to pass on. Besides increasing opportunities for older workers, it ensures that previous mistakes are avoided. Staff can use proven techniques instead of second-guessing potentially risky alternatives. However, it is also good to try out new frontiers.

Use peer work trainers to help current employees and continue mentoring them until they become self-sufficient and competent in their new job roles.

  1. Train your older workers regularly

Knowledge acquisition is unending. Experienced employees are usually happy to receive training that sharpens their skills and increases their relevance in the workplace. But some employers hold back on such training programmes for fear of losing their investment. Older employees are on the verge of retirement and won’t need the training, they imagine.

On the contrary, the employee is still a staff of your company and has the potential to deliver excellent ideas regardless of stay period. Many younger workers can get training and be poached by rival businesses at any time. Conversely, older staff are more likely to live out their remaining work-years with your company.

  1. Provide flexible work arrangements

Does your company have a flexible work arrangement for its employees? Consider introducing remote working options for some staff. Particularly older workers who live far from the office. Many employees struggle with daily commuting and it is not always a healthy solution.

In addition to a providing work flexibility for staff, remote working reduces overhead costs, increases productivity and eliminates needless meetings.

Sabbaticals are another good idea for flexible companies. Long-term workers can take extended leave for up to two months or more to develop themselves. Although the leave is unpaid, benefits such as health and dental care are covered.

Providing a wide range of benefits such a gym membership, post-retirement courses and similar advisory services are good ways to support your older employees. Good behaviour and programs that help mature workers also help other workers of all ages. After all, we are all getting older.

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