I was interviewed on BBC Radio Sussex last week talking about why employers should hire older workers. The piece was originally intended to focus on why they should hire older workers rather than younger workers but fortunately, in the event, they steered clear of that aspect and took a more general approach.

Much as I’m happy to comment on issues relating to the over 50s and older workers, I loathe the polarisation of young vs old that the media seem determined to pursue. Intergenerational warfare is definitely something we can do without and, I believe, isn’t an approach that reflects the views of the majority of people – old or young.

In preparation for the interview I had a quick look round for any new evidence underpinning the case for employing older workers and, most fortuitously, came across an article published the previous day in the US focusing on a new survey which had been carried out by the recruitment agency Adecco.

Apparently in their study of 500 hiring managers, 91 per cent associated mature workers with reliability and 88 per cent associated them with professionalism. Older workers were also seen as having better communication skills (especially written) than those born between 1981 and 2000.

On the other hand, 74 per cent of hiring managers said that younger workers are more creative, better networkers and have more technological know-how.

So – the same old perceptions persist, demonstrating strengths and weaknesses for both groups. The danger lies however, as I pointed out in the interview, of applying group stereotypes in a situation where the skills and strengths of individuals are being assessed.

The message to all employing managers surely must be: please don’t make a decision on who to employ – young or old –  until you’ve investigated and assessed the capabilities of individuals of all ages. Ultimately it’s all about finding the right person for the job regardless of their number of years.

To see the article go to: http://www.dailycomet.com/article/20121004/WIRE/121009827?Title=Lesson-from-surveys-help-all-looking-for-jobs

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