Almost one half of unemployed boomers have said age discrimination "was a barrier in getting a new job," according to an AARP study. But hiring managers beg to differ: They say they are three times more likely to hire someone age 50 and up than a Millennial, a person in their early 30s and younger, according to a new survey by Adecco, the staffing agency based in Melville, NY.
In the survey, more than 500 hiring managers from various fields revealed why they prefer hiring older workers to younger ones:
- They considered mature workers more reliable (91 percent vs. a mere 2 percent) and professional (88 percent vs. 5 percent).
- They felt older workers had better writing skills than Millennials; just 9 percent of managers said post 50s needed to work on that skill, versus 46 percent who said Millennials needed improvement.
- They felt Millennials made major mistakes in interviews, such as dressing inappropriately (75 percent); posting potentially compromising content on social media channels (70 percent); and failing to ask questions that conveyed their interest in a job or company (60 percent).
On the downside for post 50s, hiring managers said mature workers need to improve their technological skills (72 percent), versus just 5 percent of Millennials. Despite this perceived skills gap, 39 percent of managers surveyed said "they don't find any challenges in hiring mature workers" compared with 27 percent who had issues with Millennials.
Though earlier studies have suggested midlifers are not taking jobs from younger workers, there's anecdotal evidence of what the hiring managers suggested to Adecco. Consider the manufacturing firm Vita Needles in Massachusetts, where executives told the AARP Bulletin they prefer hiring a more "advanced" staff -- the median age of their team is 74 years old.
Frederick Hartman II, the company's 29-year-old director of marketing and engineering whose family owns Vita Needles, told the Bulletin: ""The older workers are loyal. Many have worked here 10 to 15 years and feel a sense of community. [Their] quality of work compensates for slower speed. [Their] attention to detail is also better."
#1 Eliminate untrendy slang.
Just speak plain English. That's always in fashion.
#2 Refrain from using expressions such as "You aren't old enough to remember this... "
They are not only insulting, but also add to unnecessary and awkward attention to age gaps.
#3 Expect ongoing changes in technology and try to stay open.
Overcome your reluctance to texting, Twitter, and Facebook. Stop explaining how it used to be -- how you bent over a light box with an Exacto knife to cut and paste, as opposed to a strike of a computer key. Instead, read up on technology articles, take seminars to keep yourself current and always ask for advice from web-savvy friends and family members.
#4 Use your age to your benefit.
Achieve this by evaluating how to build and bridge ideas, pulling in additional work.
#5 Acknowledge the talents and strengths of the younger group.
Articulate what they are and why they're important.
#6 Request time-outs during long meetings to refocus the group, lessen tension and find new directions.
Younger techies can benefit from your team building and negotiation skills.
#7 Make an effort to mentor one or two younger people who have talent but need some advice and coaching.
You'll be doing a service and building a team of loyal fans at the same time.