Ageism in the workplace is still an issue that many adults age 50 and older face, despite the overwhelming evidence that disproves negative stereotypes about older workers. Every day, we see of the value that experienced adults bring to our economy and communities.
Finding the right job can be challenging because of misconceptions based on age. And once hired, retaining or growing in a position can also be difficult because an individual might miss out on opportunities based solely on their age.
The consequences of ageism in the workplace affect us all. They create a less efficient and inclusive environment, which can lead to low employee retention, poor customer service, and fewer profits.
The good news – many employers are fighting back against ageism. Age smart employers fuel multi-generational workplaces that thrive through inclusion and continued learning.
If you are an older job seeker, knowing how to identify age smart employers can help you land the job you want. Working for an age smart employer sets you up to potentially earn more money, accomplish tasks, and feel happier in your role.
What is an age smart employer?
Columbia University’s Columbia Aging Center at the Mailman School of Public Health coined the term “age smart employers” to refer to industries and businesses that use strategic practices to hire and retain valuable workers over the age of 50. Each year, the Center awards New York employers who value and optimize the contributions of older workers.
In other words, an age smart employer uses policies and practices to recruit, engage, and retain workers of all ages, including older workers. By recognizing the benefits of employing older workers and laying a foundation for workers of all ages to succeed, a business can flourish.
13 Qualities of an age smart employer
Job seekers of all ages should be on the lookout for age smart employers. Look for these qualities of an age smart employer on your next job search.
1. They try to keep workers
Age smart employers are intentional about retaining workers. For example, they may restructure jobs if the current roles are too demanding.
2. They encourage continued learning
Inspiring workers to keep learning throughout their lifetime is an important quality of an age smart employer. They may offer the opportunity to attend workshops, take sabbaticals, or get tuition reimbursement. Training boosts confidence and helps to improve skills for employees of all ages.
3. They offer seasonal work
Not all job seekers want a full time, year-round position. By working with desired schedules, employers get the most out of employees who are ready to work.
4. Encourages loyalty
A strong staff works together towards common goals. Age smart employers know that loyalty reduces high employee turnover costs.
5. Maximizes the potential of workers as they age
As we grow, we develop new skills and experiences. Age smart employers utilize their employees’ strengths as they develop.
6. Fosters multi-generational relationships
Age smart employers allow older workers to inspire younger employees by leading by example.
7. Offers job rotation
For many people, doing the same job for a long period can become monotonous. Job rotation allows employees to grow their skills and engage in new activities.
8. Recognizes experience
Age smart employers often invite retirees to come back part-time to train employees or help out during busy periods.
9. Flexible work schedules
Life events and personal preferences often do not align with a tight work schedule. Compressed workweeks and expanded or reduced shifts help all employees balance life and work.
10. Offers accommodations for workers with physical limitations
Being an age smart employer is all about inclusion.
11. Allows voluntary demotions
Some older workers may decide that they do not want all the responsibilities of a demanding job. But, they can still offer value in a less critical position. Age smart employers retain talent by allowing experienced employees to step down, not out.
12. Provides flexible benefits
The benefits we need change throughout life. A diverse workforce requires benefits for different stages of life.
13. Actively recruits older workers
You might have guessed it – age smart employers employ older workers! Employers partner with agencies to find qualified job seekers. For example, VANTAGE Workforce Solutions provides hands-on training and certifications to job seekers age 55 and older in 38 Ohio counties. You can partner with VANTAGE as a training site or hiring employer to find dedicated and talented candidates.
Why employers should be age smart
People are living longer, and consequently, working longer. Adults age 65 and older is projected to nearly double from 52 million in 2018 to 95 million in 2060. The 65 and older age group’s share of the total population will rise from 16% to 23%.
Many of these individuals will work passed the traditional retirement age. The reasons adults are working later in life vary from financial need, to family changes such as a divorce or gaining custody of a grandchild, to simply a desire to stay active.
Older workers bring great value to industries across the board. Age smart strategies support and utilize the talent of older workers. The upshot is that they benefit all workers at an organization.
Age smart approaches have helped employers boost productivity, grow their business, lower costs, and develop innovative solutions. By fostering a workplace that encourages inclusion and continued learning, businesses can maximize their potential to thrive as our aging population grows.
Need help on your job search? VANTAGE Workforce Solutions provides hands-on training and certifications to help you reenter the workforce. Call us today at 1-800-554-5335 or visit our Workforce page to learn more.
*The information in this article is intended solely to provide general information on matters of interest for the personal use of the reader, who accepts full responsibility for its use. This article should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal, medical, or other competent advisors.
This workforce product was funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. The product was created by the recipient and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Labor. The Department of Labor makes no guarantees, warranties, or assurances of any kind, express or implied, with respect to such information, including any information on linked sites and including, but not limited to, accuracy of the information or its completeness, timeliness, usefulness, adequacy, continued availability, or ownership. This product is copyrighted by the institution that created it.