"Are they stupid, or what?"

The other day, enjoying dinner with a 50 plus physicist (I’ll call him Jim) from JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratories), we started to discuss the challenges of the 50 plus jobseeker finding employment. He was a bit stunned. Why, he wanted to know, would an employer be stupid enough NOT to hire a 50 plusser? (Well, that started quite the conversation!) In his line of work, he actually sought out the more mature worker — for several reasons:

  1. Huge gain in terms of training time. The experience of the mature worker reduces the amount of time it takes to get a new hire up and running.
  2. Experience. The mature worker can actually make decisions – generally good ones– based on a sound workplace background, which results in fewer costly mistakes.
  3. Longevity. With the costs of continually retraining new staff resulting in both lost time and revenues, a mature worker is more likely to stick around if they are satisfied with their compensation, company culture and benefits. Career path is not necessarily the all important carrot dangling from the stick.
  4. Value of time spent equals value-added. The younger worker may be willing to put in a 12 hour day, but will not necessarily produce the results that a more mature worker would produce in a much shorter time. According to Jim, if a mature worker can come to a conclusion in twenty minutes that a “green” worker would need a day to figure out, then “who cares how much time they put into the job? They get results!”

 

Jim and I spent some time talking about the challenges I’m finding in getting some employers to willingly declare themselves 50 plus friendly by posting their jobs on the Gen Plus job board. Jim’s final comment … “Are they stupid…or what?? I go out of my way to hire mature workers.” There is no question that the tide is slowly turning as more and more companies are starting to look out of their narrow channels of employee search, so it gives me great hope when Jim is willing to boldly cross the invisible line.

4 thoughts on “"Are they stupid, or what?"

  1. Hi Wendy!

    Your friend, Jim, offers several great reasons to seek out 50+ candidates. And I think the turning tide is great news for fifty plussers. Yet, I think getting hired, at any age, is a matter of “preparation meets opportunity.” So, my advice to job seekers is that it’s really important to be on top of your game. Know what sets you apart. Know the value you can bring. And know how to build relationships.

  2. You are absolutely right. So, even when the opportunities are fewer for the 50 plus candidate, they must seek out and take advantage of every opportunity to highlight and showcase their particular talents. Excellent point.

  3. All these points are true but people have a tendency towards reaction rather than pro-action.When boomers start to retire in droves then attitudes and actions will change.

  4. Cameron, you are absolutely right. Because I directly communicate with hundreds of jobseekers who are in a desperate financial situation due to not being able to find employment, I am relentless in speaking out on the issues of the 50 plus jobseeker. Attitudes and actions are very slow to change, and dialogue like this keeps this particular challenge poking up across the web, in conversations, and in the general media. My concern is for the jobseekers who are in dire straits right now and can’t wait 5 more years for employers to wake up.

    A very, very insightful comment, Cameron. Thanks for taking the time to speak out.

    Wendy

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