50 years of age and up face difficult times when it comes to finding a job these days. The reason? A whole litany of stereotypes from hiring agencies depicts older workers as technologically inept, more likely to face burnout, and less likely to show the passion and fervor that some younger workers do. But Peter Cappelli, a professor of management at Wharton School of Business coauthor of the book, Managing the Older Worker, published a book in 2010 that details older workers in the workforce.
The results? Virtually none of the results hold up in the real world. None. In fact, older workers trounce their younger counterparts in a whole host of areas entirely.
The Ability of Age
Virtually every aspect of someone’s work life improves with age. Generally, older workers show more responsibility in their tasks, more loyalty to their place of employment, and demonstrate more knowledge and wisdom in their specific career field. Also, the myth of a decline in cognitive ability with many older workers is simply untrue. Adam Gazzaley, a neuroscientist, and M.D., at the University of California, San Francisco found that cognitive skills can start to decrease in someone’s 20’s. So, an active and healthy 75-year-old may very well possess stronger and sharper cognitive abilities than a 35-year-old who spends most of the day on their smartphone at home.
Some have stated their reluctance towards hiring older workers is due to the perception that they are not as technologically-able as younger workers. And while this is largely untrue, it’s also true that many younger workers cannot truly unplug from their phones, email, and social media accounts when the situation warrants doing so. Self-control increases as we age and many older workers possess the needed discernment between work and personal life that some of their younger cohorts may lack.
Older workers do not lack any of the needed skills one must possess to succeed in a workplace environment. And while it sometimes may feel as though the odds are stacked against more seasoned workers, many have found the prosperity that can come through patience. And while it’s true that many older workers can eventually find fulfilling work, we all must do our part to ensure they are given a fair chance to showcase their abilities. Because the truth is, we are hurting ourselves and our businesses when we are reluctant to do so.