This is an article by guest blogger Jorg Stegemann.
Human Resources directors and professional recruiters will tell you that age makes no difference when you are looking for a new job. Baby-boomers who have lost their job will often say the contrary. But what does the truth really look like? Are you really finished as a 50+ for a corporate career?
Myth and truth about 50+ knowledge workers
Prejudices say that older workers are not as flexible or tech savvy as younger ones and will be more often on sick-leave. Statistics, however, do not confirm this: Older employees have in fact a much lower sick-leave level. They are also five times more loyal than Gen X or Y. In terms of performance, an OECD survey concluded that communication skills and intelligence remain unchanged as a person ages. When it comes to problem solving, good judgment and leadership, boomers clearly score better than their younger competitors. A recent Harvard University study showed that the ability to use an accumulated body of knowledge keeps rising throughout the lifetime of a healthy person. Better quality of work and better decision-making is a direct result on longer experience – another point where 50+ score better than 50-. Furthermore, the most successful (and largest) group of new entrepreneurs are over the age of 50 (Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity).
9 out of 10 employers believe that it is important to keep older workers on board because of their superior skills and experience according to Bloomberg. Demographics are in favour of baby-boomers too, and talent shortage which is already a problem today, will severely endanger the competitiveness of organisations tomorrow. In the UK, the European continent, but also in the US or Canada, the unemployment rate of 50+ professionals is actually 30% lower than for instance the ratio for entry-level candidates.
The labour force is changing in most western societies and along with talent shortage, employers must change their mind-set. In my job in headhunting, I see that employers have become more flexible and open over the last 10 years and understand the advantages of 50+ candidates.
About the author:
Jorg Stegemann has been working in professional recruitment since 2001, has coached thousands of professionals from entry to C-level and found a new job for hundreds of candidates. In the past, he has held various managerial and corporate functions with three major players in this industry and with a pan-European scope. Jorg blogs on My Job Thoughts | Career advice from a headhunter.