Older workers commonly work past the age of 65 to maintain their vitality, stay active and to save up more money for their retirement years. Yet, there is a disconnect among employers who think there should be an age limit when it comes to work. Many employers have some interesting opinions about hiring senior citizens who are on a job search in 2018.
The Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies released its 2018 retirement survey report, and it shows that older workers often seek both full- and part-time employment in their golden years. Even though companies recognize the needs of seniors, they often have outdated biases against them. Transamerica's survey showed that two-thirds of employers, or 65 percent, said that "it depends on the person" when it comes to the age a person is too old to work. Of those companies that did list an age, the median age was 70, or five years beyond retirement.
Hiring older workers represents a different aspect of this survey. A total of 64 percent said "it depends the person" when it comes to actually hiring older people, while 12 percent said they were unsure of the maximum age they are willing to hire someone. The rest, or 24 percent of survey participants, said that they consider age 64 as the age someone is too old to hire.
The difficulty with employers saying 64 is too old to hire someone is that age discrimination against older workers is illegal, according to federal law. If someone does not have the skills or lacks a cultural fit, companies must have proof of this based on a candidate's resume, interview or behavior. Discrimination is not just about hiring older people on a job search, but it also deals with promotions, termination and development opportunities. Older employees must be given the same opportunities, benefits, perks and bonuses as everyone else on staff. Employers may face lawsuits or reprimands from the EEOC if they discriminate against an entire class of people, including older employees.
There are several solutions to avoiding age discrimination or hindering older workers. Older people looking for work can update their skills, take classes and improve their soft skills to be more in line with a job description. Employers can adopt inclusive policies, endorsed and put into practice by executives, department heads and managers, that include age as a characteristic among race, ethnicity, gender and physical abilities.
Companies can also help workers as they approach retirement age. Rather than just throw someone a retirement party, HR can administer a program in concerted phases that help a worker move from full-time employment to full-on retirement while making the transition easier.
Older workers stay on the job for a variety of reasons, and it behooves companies to foster the development of these job seekers to make a better office environment. Older people also help businesses relate to a broader customer base, which improves an employer's bottom line.
Photo courtesy of Hussein Alazaat at Flickr.com