Ageism in hiring can be all too real. Many older workers, for example, report that they feel pushed out of jobs once they reach the age of 50 or older. Yet surveys have shown that older workers perform equally better or better than younger employees. Not only that, but people in their 50s, 60s, and older are often eager to work. Including older workers in your hiring can simply give you more options in hiring qualified people.
A lot of ageism in the workplace can be inadvertent. Employers may not realize that they’re hiring based on age. Here’s how to recognize any ageism that may have crept into your hiring and eliminate it.
Recognizing Ageism When It Crops Up
The best way to recognize ageism is to realize that it is often unconscious. If you catch yourself or other managers saying or thinking things like “older people are too hard to retrain,” stop and think. Older people can be as easy to retrain as other age groups. Not only that, but older people vary in their desire and ability to be retrained. Consider them case by case, to realize their value.
Another common sign of ageism is the belief that older workers are too costly. The salaries and benefits of older workers may in fact be higher due to the length of time they’ve spent in the workplace. Older workers are more mature – and that can benefit you in the workplace. Make an active effort to counterbalance any higher costs with higher benefits. Older workers can, for example, be less likely to jump ship, decreasing retention costs. They can be carriers of institutional memory.
Eliminating Discrimination From the Hiring Process
So how do you eliminate discrimination? First, make sure that your company policies don’t discriminate on the basis of age, any more than they discriminate on race, ethnic group, gender, or any other category.
Second, work to eliminate any job posting descriptions that may signal that you don’t want older people. The term “digital native,” for example, is often used to apply to younger people. You may be perceived as looking only for the younger set, even if that was far from your intent. Descriptors like “high energy,” similarly, may be perceived to apply only to the young, and to exclude the old. Eliminate them.
Hiring the best-qualified people is our business.
At Expert Staffing, we take pride in helping companies hire the best-qualified people for their industry. To find out how to use our services to connect with top candidates in your industry, contact a consultant today.