We find that nearly every company is looking for a new talent pool or channel to market their jobs to the all important entry level skill positions. I’ve recently been hearing about the perennial candidates (workers aged 55 and older) and it reminded me of this great opportunity and a labor segment that people can tend to ignore because of misinformation and perception. This worker segment is generally retired and wanting a job to stay busy or currently employed and looking for a second income.
How large is this talent pool?
So why is this an attractive hiring target. Let’s look at the numbers. In the 30-year span from 1994 to 2024, workers aged 55 and older will go from being the smallest segment of the US working population to the largest, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to a prominent Stanford Professor Laura Carsensen, she believes its America’s older citizens who are the Nation’s greatest unused resource.
Think about that last statement. If you can tap into this resource, you’ll find your company will have a new recruiting channel to focus on. Whether you operate a store, a distribution center a manufacturing plant or a call center you surely have knowledge-based jobs that are currently unfilled. These jobs require committed people and in many of these roles they interact with your internal or external customers.
Eliminating the myth about older workers
First and foremost, let’s try to dispel the myth that older workers are slow and less productive. Here is some research about the perception that older workers are less productive? The AARP found exciting new research by German economist Axel Borsch-Supan. He found that there is some reduction in productivity for very unskilled jobs. But with knowledge-based jobs, you see an increase in productivity with age. Then it levels off. It doesn’t go down.
Early career in my career as a Regional Manager overseeing Operations/HR and all Hiring in Southern California where we had a labor shortage at the time, I came across this labor pool purely by accident and a bit of desperation at the time. We tapped into this pool for Office and Customer Service roles within the company. The myth and bias including my own that I had to break down included; older workers tend to be more methodical and slower. I found just the opposite was true, in fact; they proved to be very committed, had lower absenteeism rates and had higher overall accuracy. My experience with two hires that I recall from this period Connie and Jan, were dependable, hard-working and loyal. In fact, they were so good I still remember their names 20 plus years later .
How do you hire older workers? Think flex options and a 20 to 25-hour workweeks. I tend to believe that 25-hour weeks and more part time flex schedules are going to gain even more popularity in the next decade as the projected labor shortage continues and this segment of the population ages.
There are lots of resources on social media where you can tap into organizations and senior centers to post your jobs and source this additional pool of talent.
Start a conversation with your team
I know it’s a tough environment, I hear it from my clients every day across the country. The next time someone says, “we can’t find any qualified people for the role” you have a great opportunity to start a conversation with your team about this segment. Start by responding with, let’s have a meeting and talk about ways we can tap into the Perennial workforce. Involve HR in the conversation, they most likely already understand this segment and they can help in the sourcing and resource effort.
So, there you have it, go out and hire a Perennial and tap into this growing segment. I can almost guarantee that injecting some of this talent and knowledge into your workforce will also have plus Benefits.